I think everyone agrees that baby feet are cute! But did you know they can be a secret weapon to helping them when they are teething, have an upset stomach, congested, experiencing ear pain, have trouble sleeping and even to foster a stronger bond and attachment?
One of the simplest and easiest ways to help activate and release body systems in need of support is reflexology. This non-invasive technique is powerful in promoting changes in the body, especially when other methods aren’t working.
The aim of reflexology is to promote wellness in the body. By massaging and applying pressure to key reflex points, or zones you can help support a physical and emotional change.
Scientific research suggests that acupuncture points stimulate the body to release chemicals into the nervous system and into the bloodstream. These chemicals change the experience of pain and trigger the release of other chemicals which influence the body’s internal regulatory systems.
WHAT IS REFLEXOLOGY?
Reflexology is an ancient form of natural healing therapy that has been practiced for centuries in countries like Egypt and China and is a popular technique used by many today.
Reflexology is based on the theory that parts of the body can be stimulated through concentrating on specific points on the feet, hands and ears. Reflexology is a type of massage where pressure points are worked on to help ease pain or promote wellness in other areas of the body such as various organs, muscles and bones.
HOW IT HELPS BABIES
Reflexology is the theory that pressure applied to certain areas of the feet can affect organs & bodily systems.
By applying gentle pressure to targeted areas of the feet you can help restore energy flow to your baby’s body to help with everything from tummy pains, teething, reduce constipation, even increase immune response and aid in sleep.
Reflexology can also be very beneficial for babies who had a traumatic birth. Although it will not cure any major conditions it can help soothe them and increase your bond and connection.
HOW TO DO IT
Once you’ve chosen an area of the foot to work on firmly massage by alternating thumbs in opposite directions. Pressure should be gentle, using tiny forward creeping motions. Then you want to apply firm (but gentle) deeper pressure in your targeted zone for a count of 2-5 seconds.
The biggest thing to remember is you need to be very, very gentle! Tell your baby what you’re going to do and why you’re doing it. This is an opportunity to foster love, nourishment and care.
Here is a general guide on where to apply pressure to aid different parts of the body:
For whole-body benefit: Take one foot and while it is being supported with one hand the other hand can commence basic massage strokes.
Zone 1: Promote growth, improve mood and aid in sleep: Use small circular movements
Zone 2: For teething, earaches and congestion: On the toes using your index finger and thumb move upwards from the base of the toe to the tip, hold and release.
Zone 3: For upset tummies, chest pain, coughs and increased immune response: The solar plexus comprises a network of nerves located in the lungs and stomach. Apply pressure below the ball of the foot to relieve discomfort.
Zone 4: For gas pain, constipation and heartburn: The upper and lower abdomen regions on the foot can be sensitive to touch and respond well to gentle circular movements using your thumb to help relieve digestive related pain and gas. Stroking and gliding movements on the feet helps with relaxation. Finish by holding your palms against the sole of your baby’s foot.
Zone 5: For gas and bloating pain caused by the lower intestine, massage the spot between the heel and middle of the foot.
Zone 6: For pelvic pain and growth discomfort massage gently.
Zone 7: The spine is the circuit board for the body and massaging this spot aids in whole body relaxation.
ADD IN ESSENTIAL OILS FOR GREATER RELIEF
The largest pores in your body are on the bottoms of the feet so when you pair reflexology with essential oils you can expect some powerful shifts!
How to use essential oils in reflexology:
- Massage the bottom of the foot with a carrier oil (I like olive or hemp oil). This will help dilute the essential oils and assist in absorption.
- Once you have chosen your essential oil of choice dab it on your thumb and work it in with a kneading action into the targeted area a few seconds.
- Make sure you’re using pure, certified grade oils, especially when using topically & on your babes. doTERRA oils are my oils of choice, because they’re the most pure & potent in the world & have the most incredible health benefits but you can use oils that you feel comfortable using in your home. Do your research and always dilute it!
A few essential oils you can use for each zone:
Zone 1: Lavender, Frankincense, Balance, Serenity, Vetiver
Zone 2: Ramon Chamomile, Copaiba, Lavender, Frankincense, Clove
Zone 3: Cardamom, Frankincense, Breathe, Digestzen, Tea Tree
Zone 4: Fennel, Lemon, Digestzen
Zone 5: Ginger, Wild Orange, Digestzen
Zone 6: Frankincense, Turmeric, On Guard, Deep Blue, Lemongrass
Zone 7: Frankincense, Vetiver, Balance, Copaiba, Helichrysum
*the oils listed above are based off my own personal experience with my kids as well as years of research. In no way am I stating that these products diagnose, prevents, treat, or cure disease.
*To learn more about essential oils and their uses click here.
*To learn more about using them on your baby click here.
Additional tips and tricks
- Intention is so important. It is more powerful when done with focus and is unhurried.
- Use very light and gentle movements only.
- If your baby is sick, they will be even more sensitive so try being extra gentle.
- You want to get the blood flow happening first so do a gentle all over massage of the feet with some soft strokes.
- To help your fingers glide easier put olive or hemp oil on your baby’s feet.
- You want your baby to be relaxed; try this practice when the baby is breastfeeding or drinking their bottle, right after a bath, in a baby carrier or asleep.
- You don’t need to massage for long periods of time. 1-2 minutes per targeted area and 5 minutes overall is usually enough.
- Watch for babies’ cues to stop. This is an energetic exchange so respect your baby’s desires. If they want you to stop before the 5-10 minutes is up that’s OK, you can try again another time.
- Use reflexology one to two times a week, or as needed.
- You can use reflexology as children get older and on adults as well, especially for feelings of anxiousness. However, a baby’s foot has an oval shape to it, usually until they are about 4 or 5 years old, so you would use a different routine for an adult or older child.
- This can be a powerful and proactive part of your family’s self-care regimen.
FDA disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.