According to Nourish, reflexology is the practice of massaging the feet to stimulate certain nerve endings. These nerve endings correspond to organs and zones in the body, so you can match your massage to your baby's ailments. Keep reading the key points to massage for your baby.
Before beginning the massage, Natural Transition recommend relaxing your baby and encouraging blood flow to the foot with a soothing foot rub, or a bath. Consult the information below to find the relevant reflex area, and then begin your massage. Apply gentle pressure and be aware that these nerve endings may be sensitive, especially if your little one is sick. Here are the 7 points to know:
1) Head and teeth. Massaging the tips of the toes can be especially useful when infants are teething. As MamasMakeMilk suggests, you can even do it while they're asleep so they're less likely to wake up from teething pain.
2) Sinuses. According to Daily Health Post, the pressure points which correspond to the sinuses are in the center (of the underside) of your baby's toes. Applying gentle pressure to these spots can help with sinus pain and a range of cold and allergy symptoms related to the respiratory system.
3) Chest. You can try this one for babies with congestion in the chest, according to David Wolfe. The pads of the feet, just under the toes and above the arch, correspond to the chest. Applying gentle pressure to this point in a circular motion can help to relieve the discomfort related to congestion and coughing. Remember, reflexology is a complimentary therapy - you should see a doctor to treat any underlying issue as chest infections can be dangerous.
4) Solar plexus. The solar plexus is a collection of nerves hidden between your stomach and lungs, and it is connected to a point in the center of the foot, just below the pads of the feet where the arch begins. The Hearty Soul explains that discomfort related to upset tummies, spasms, tightness and trouble breathing can be related to this area and light massage can help.
5) Upper Abdomen. Greenyway recommends massaging the space between the middle of your baby's foot and the pads of their feet to alleviate constipation, heartburn, and indigestion.
6) Lower Abdomen. The portion between the middle of your foot and your heel is linked to the lower abdomen. This spot is especially good to massage in babies who suffer from gas and bloating in the lower intestine, which are common reasons for discomfort according to The Hearty Soul.
7) Pelvis. Lastly, the heel of the foot is connected to the pelvis, the hips and tummy. David Wolfe explains that babies grow rapidly and so pain and tightness in the hips is common, as are posture issues. Rubbing the heel can also help with sore tummies and constipation.
It isn't always easy to find a time when your baby is lying still and relaxed, but Natural Transition has a few great suggestions: try massaging while your baby is asleep or feeding, or while in another relaxing position such as a rocker or a sling, or even during bath time. If you'd like to try reflexology with an older baby, you can play games like "this little piggy went to market" and incorporate the massage into that.
If you have any concerns for your baby's health it's important that you visit a doctor, but reflexology can be a safe and effective complimentary therapy, and a lovely way for you to connect with your baby.