Babies are especially responsive to reflexology. Many mothers will instinctively rub their children’s feet and hands when their child is cranky, crying, or uncomfortable. Reflexology works very well for most babies.
Reflexology is effective and safe, it is based on the principle that reflex points found on the feet and hands correspond to specific organs, muscles, bones and body systems.
Babies’ feet have undeveloped arches, and their skin and bones are usually fairly soft making reflexology an effective and fast modality for babies. By applying gentle pressure to congested areas in the feet, blockages can be released to restore the flow of energy to the whole body.
Results for babies are often experienced immediately and can soothe a cranky baby or help to relieve tummy pains or constipation.
Reflexology with children can begin at birth and can be used as a valuable tool for parents to dissipate their children’s stresses in a nurturing way. As your baby gets older and begins walking the use of reflexology can also be combined with checking the development of the feet. Children’s feet should be checked regularly to avoid problems caused by ill-fitting shoes such as: flat feet, corns, toe deformities; as well as looking for infectious conditions such as: athlete’s foot and warts.
Reflexology is particularly beneficial for babies who have experienced a difficult birth such as forceps or ventouse. Tiny bones of the skull will have experienced great pressure as a result of the use of these instruments, and it has been found that these bones can be marginally misaligned. Reflexology can help to correct this in the gentlest of ways.
You can use reflexology as a natural healing therapy for acute illnesses as well as a preventative maintenance tool for good health.
Tips for a relaxed reflexology session with your baby
- Use a gentle pressure as you would while massaging your baby.
- If a child is sick, reflex points will be quite sensitive.
- If your baby pulls its foot away from you as you are working is a good indication that it is not enjoyable and that you should stop and try another approach later.
- Work no longer than 5-10 minutes for the entire treatment, depending on what your baby will comfortably tolerste.
Finding time for reflexology
Babies get wiggly and it can be hard to find a time when baby is happy to be still to have his feet played with. For young babies you can try working on your baby:
- As part of your massage routine
- While asleep
- While feeding
- While rocking
- In a carry pouch
With older babies you can also:
- Play this little piggy went to market or round and round the garden while pressing the relevant parts of the foot. A few presses here and there and you have a reflexology workout that is a natural extension of a fun game.
- During bath time
How often should you use reflexology?
- For a specific chronic problem such as reflux or eczema, once a week for three to four weeks is the best way to start out. Results can then be maintained with bimonthly or monthly treatments.
- Reflexology can also be used to maintain good general health, the routine outlined on page 17 can be used as an extension as your daily massage.
How to do reflexology?
- Relax and bring blood flow to the foot with a quick warm up.
- Find the relevant reflex area.
- Apply a technique- Experiment with different techniques and find what works for you and your baby. This is likely to change as your baby gets older.
- Continue technique application until symptoms stop or recede to an acceptable level. For more chronic conditions you can apply reflexology techniques consistently three times a day, symptoms or no symptoms. The goal is to break up the stress pattern. Over the course of several weeks, you should see improvement in any longer lasting symptoms.