What is Reflexology?
Reflexology is a holistic treatment which involves pressure being applied to the sole of the foot, using specific techniques.
The feet are a mirror image of the body and every organ and body system is represented via various parts of the foot. As a Reflexologist, I will stimulate the reflex points during a treatment, creating a healing effect throughout the body.
During a reflexology treatment circulation can be improved by increasing the blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. Crystal deposits are broken up and eliminated and this results in the flow of healing energy to the body, returning it to a natural state of balance and enabling it to heal itself.
In adults, Reflexology is used to help people with a variety of conditions, from headaches and migraines, to stress, anxiety and depression, IBS, diabetes, and pregnancy, to name just a few.
What is Baby Reflexology?
Baby Reflexology is a gentle, safe and effective natural therapy using Reflexology principles created especially for babies and toddlers. In essence, it is similar to Reflexology as it’s a very gentle stimulation of the reflexes using massage, but on a much smaller foot. Babies’ feet have undeveloped arches, soft skin and bones, and so babies are especially responsive to the gentle pressure applied for Reflexology.
The body systems flow in a specific order, and this is reflected in the feet, therefore it is important to note that the massage of the foot follows the same natural order.
On many images of baby’s feet, the body is divided into zones as a guide for parents, and not all areas are relevant for tiny toes, so the map is often quite simple. This simpler version can easily be taught to parents so they can carry out a short treatment on their little ones from birth to 2 years old.
From the age of 3, the arch of the foot has developed enough for full reflexology treatments to be of more benefit. However, I usually opt for much shorter treatments as getting toddlers to sit still long enough can be a challenge all of its own!
What Are the Benefits?
Baby Reflexology can be used as natural healing therapy for acute illnesses as well as a preventative tool for good health. Here are some examples of how it might help your baby.
Colic - possibly caused by an underdeveloped or a growing digestive system with muscles that often spasm and therefore cause pain. This can be identified in a healthy well-fed baby who cries excessively.
Trapped wind - Reflexology may assist in relieving the spasms that are caused by trapped wind or gas in the lower bowel. Encouraging circulation in the abdomen assists in increasing absorption in the digestive system and promoting bowel movements.
Teething - occurs when babies first teeth break through the gums, which may result in some babies presenting with side effects such as a rash, fever or swollen gums.
Improved Immunity - as mentioned earlier in the article, Reflexology assists in bringing the body back into balance and eliminating toxins. Regular treatments will therefore assist in maintaining this state of equilibrium and promoting a healthier immune system.
Calms irritable children - Reflexology encourages the body to release tension and brings about a state of relaxation, thus also assisting parents in soothing an irritable baby.
Sleep – Regular Reflexology sessions can assist in improving baby’s sleeping patterns.
If you would like to find a Reflexologist in your area to treat your baby, please visit the Association of Reflexologist's website at www.aor.org.uk or alternatively, here are a few moves you can try for yourself at home.
Preparing for baby reflexology
Try this for up to 5 minutes daily when your baby is calm. It’s also important you stay calm, as babies can pick up on any feelings of anxiety.
Work one foot at a time. Use one hand to hold the foot and the other to work the points, then move to the second foot and repeat the sequence.
Remember to use gentle pressure.
This is supposed to be fun, so sing Nursery rhymes, smile or talk to your baby as you carry out the massage.
Babies can wiggle a lot, but if they pull their legs away from you, this can be a sign that it hurts, or they don’t want reflexology at this time. Stop and try again later.
How to do Reflexology on your baby
Place the palms of your hands on the baby’s feet to connect to your baby.
Support the heels of your baby’s feet in the palms of your hands and hold them loosely for about 10 seconds whilst talking to them in a soothing voice.
Using your thumb, make circular movements in a clockwise direction in the middle of the foot (see picture - 1).
Again, using your thumb, make circular movements in a clockwise direction over the heel area (see picture - 2).
Use your thumb to gently push up from the base of each toe to the very tips (see picture - 3).
Place your thumb in the centre of the foot where if folds (the little sunshine), gently press in and hold for 10 seconds (see picture - 4)
" Healthy feet are happy feet"
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