Calming Baby Reflexology

Science Behind Reflexology

Reflexology is a holistic therapy that uses massage and gentle acupressure techniques to stimulate reflex points in the hands and feet. We believe these reflex points are linked neurologically to specific parts of the body and that touching them helps the body to relax and release tension, improves mood, and promotes easier and deeper sleep. Reflexology is suitable for people of all ages – it is a wonderfully relaxing treat for us grown-ups but it is also a gentle way to soothe and relax babies and children. It is one of the safest and least invasive complementary therapies available. It simply involves removing shoes and socks so it is something even the fussiest newborn will enjoy!

But how does Reflexology work?

One theory is that when you apply pressure to the foot through Reflexology, a message is sent through the nervous system. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in each foot. When pressure is applied to a specific reflex point, a message is sent to the corresponding body part, then the brain interprets the message and takes action. Another theory is that during a Reflexology session we enter into the parasympathetic nervous system (the ‘rest and repair’ state). Endorphins are released which help with pain relief and boost our sense of wellbeing allowing homeostasis (a state of balance) to be achieved.

Babies and Reflexology

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.

Benefits

Reflexology is deeply relaxing for babies, but it can also help manage a host of childhood issues as listed. Unlike other therapies which manipulate bone or muscle tissue, Reflexology can provide much needed relief through working the body reflex that ails your child on a part of their body that does not. When Reflexology was performed during a study on infants with colics, a decrease in colic severity was observed. Other studies have also shown Reflexology to be effective for acute pain management and may help with digestive issues in general.

  • Develops a feeling of being loved, respected and secure
  • Balances the whole body
  • Can alleviate trapped wind, soothe colic and alleviate constipation
  • May help unblock baby’s blocked nose
  • Develops baby’s first language of touch
  • Teaches positive, loving touch
  • Develops body, mind, awareness and coordination
  • Helps to regulate and strengthen baby’s digestive and respiratory systems 
  • Stimulate circulatory and nervous systems
  • Promotes circulation and lymphatic drainage
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Improves quality of sleep
  • Strengthens and tones muscles
  • Improves skin conditions
  • Eases teething issues
  • Helps to regulate bodies homeostasis
  • Offers opportunity for socialisation in groups
  • Aids and supports development

Baby to 2 Years

Reflexology is suitable for babies from birth to 2 years old. Until the age of 3 years, children’s feet generally are oval in form since the arches are not developed. Small feet are easy to treat.  In order to carry out reflexology on your baby, cover the whole foot with tiny forward movements of the thumb; work up from the base of baby’s heel to the point where the toes join the foot. Start with the right foot and massage this way across the foot to the outside edge, repeat on the left foot in the same manner; make sure you cover all the energy zones and on most of baby’s body systems. Certain common ailments of newborns respond well to more concentrated work on one or more areas.

You can use reflexology as a natural healing therapy for acute illnesses as well as a preventative maintenance tool for good health, but as with anything if you are concerned about your child you should consult a doctor or other qualified health professional.

by https://nourishbaby.com.au/blogs/blog/reflexology-for-babies

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 below can be used as an extension as your daily massage.
Baby Reflexology

Baby Foot Reflexology / Massage Routine

Here’s a little foot massage routine for the whole foot. But before you start, remember to ensure you apply a firm but gentle pressure when massaging baby. If your strokes are too light, particularly on areas like the sole of the foot, it may be tickly for baby and provide discomfort and overstimulation.

Massage routine for baby’s feet:

  • Stroke over top of foot from ankle to toes using your thumb
  • Thumb slide from heel to under each toe in turn
  • Draw clockwise circles around the foot arch with thumb
  • Press and release over all of the sole of the foot with thumb
  • Gently lengthen, squeeze and roll each toe individually with thumb and index finger
  • Draw small circles around the ankle
  • Repeat on the other foot

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