baby tummy pain

What is Reflexology for Babies and Children

Reflexology is a non invasive gentle therapy suitable for babies from birth. Tiny babies, children and adults can all benefit from this ancient therapy that has been used for centuries to bring about healing, balance and a sense of well-being.

👣 What is reflexology

Reflexology is based on the principle that all our body parts and bodily systems are reflected on the feet and the hands. Applying gentle massage and therapeutic touch to specific areas will have an effect in the corresponding body part or to the whole child.

👣 How can reflexology help my baby or child

For Babies

  • Helps to alleviate symptoms from colic, reflux, teething, colds, unsettledness

  • Encourages bonding and attachment between baby and care-giver

  • Promotes calm, is soothing and relaxing

  • Assists the Immune system

  • Aids deeper and more restful sleep

For Children (including the above)

  • Helps with ‘Tummy’ aches, non-specific ailments, headaches, behavioural issues

  • Supports children with stress and anxiety

  • Helps to concentrate and focus

  • Encourages ability to relax

  • Promotes self confidence and self esteem

👣 Research into reflexology

Care-givers who have witnessed the impact of Reflexology on their baby or child or indeed even themselves, may not need to see research to know it ‘works’. However it’s great that there is always ongoing research into reflexology to help validate its credibility.

One large review by Kunz and Kunz (2008) summarized 168 research studies and abstracts from journals and meetings from around the world. Many of these studies originated in peer-reviewed journals in China and Korea. All of the studies had information about the frequency and duration of the reflexology application. Based on the studies they reviewed, Kunz and Kunz concluded that reflexology may:

✔  Impact specific organs

For example, fMRI readings demonstrated an increase in blood flow to kidneys and to the intestines.

✔  Improve symptoms

In particular, positive changes were noted in kidney functioning with kidney dialysis patients.

✔  Induce relaxation

Though EEG measurements of alpha and theta waves, researchers saw that blood pressure was decreased, and anxiety was lowered.

✔  Reduce pain

Twenty-seven studies demonstrated a positive outcome for reduction in pain; e.g., AIDS, chest pain, peripheral neuropathy of diabetes mellitus, kidney stones, and osteoarthritis.

Other systematic reviews are cautious in saying that reflexology may:

  • have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes (Song, 2015)

  • exert a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure and incontinence (Song, 2015)

  • have a positive impact on blood pressure (McCullough, 2014)

  • be effective for tingling in MS (Yadav, 2015)

These reviews note that the quality of research studies on reflexology is generally low. 

Specific research into paediatric reflexology

Koc and Gozen (2015) note a statistically significant difference in pain scores of infants suffering from acute pain between the reflexology and control groups. The infants in the reflexology group also had lower heart rates, higher oxygen saturation, and shorter crying periods than the infants in the control group.

Gordon et al. (2010) compared the effectiveness of foot reflexology, foot massage, and regular treatment (control group) in children (1-12 years) with chronic idiopathic constipation over a 12-week period. The study design was a randomized control trial. The authors report that the reflexology group had the greatest increase in the number of bowel movements and the greatest reduction in constipation symptom scores. There were significant differences between reflexology and control groups; however, there was no significant difference between reflexology and massage for bowel frequency, and no significant difference between control and massage groups for bowel frequency or overall constipation symptom scores.

👣 Can I give reflexology to my child myself?

Yes. Reflexology is completely safe when the pressure applied is extremely gentle. The pressure used in a typical reflexology treatment for an adult is not the same as for a baby or child. My video tutorials aim to give you the tools to feel confident to try a little bit of Reflexology for your child and see if it can make a difference. It can be a wonderful opportunity to try something between being able to make an appointment with your GP, another Health Practitioner or indeed even a qualified Reflexologist.

Here’s a video explaining a little bit about reflexology. Get in touch with any queries!

I really hope this helps.  Please let me know if you have had any success.  Good luck! 

Love Lucy ♡


Baby Massage for constipation, wind and gas

Baby Massage is extremely popular for relieving babies common digestive issues. The audible benefits of learning these simple strokes are often met with cries of surprise in my classes! I have witnessed countless successes with babies who have been constipated for days/weeks on end and the joy for parent and baby alike to be met with such sweet relief from painful trapped gas and wind.

How does Baby Massage help?

♡ When babies cry or feed they can take in a lot of air. This air can become congested and stuck within the bowel. Once you have a few air bubbles in there they can form one large pocket of air that gives babies that uncomfortable hard tummy and tummy ache, characterised often by babies drawing their legs up towards their tummy to try and expel and move that air around. Our hands are trying to do the job of peristalsis, or the movement of food through babies bowel. So, mechanically we are moving air out of babies body with the massage strokes such as ‘I love you’ as demonstrated in the video.

♡ All babies have different development of the muscle in their gut wall that helps with the process of peristalsis. This may explain why some babies tend to suffer more from wind than others. When we massage we’re helping to bring all the blood to that muscle inside the gut wall, helping to bring nutrients and oxygen which it needs to strengthen and develop and therefore make the process of peristalsis more efficient.

♡ Massage helps to stimulate a main nerve called the ‘Vagus’ nerve which helps to control the rate of digestion. This nerve is not yet fully developed so with the massage we’re helping to encourage really good communication between the brain and the gut, so hopefully again, the process of peristalsis will be much smoother and much more efficient and therefore baby will get much less issues relating to wind becoming trapped within the tummy.


Before you start

♡ Imagine where the stomach and the intestines are on your babies tummy. Prepare to always be working in a clockwise direction. The main principles of tummy massage are to:

1. Move everything down.

2. Move everything towards the babies left hand side towards the end of the bowel.

♡  Please make sure you have waited around 45 minutes after your babies last feed to massage your babies tummy.

♡ Find a comfortable space on the floor, turn off the TV, your phone and feel free from any distractions.

♡  Feel confident that your baby is happy, well enough and ready to participate.

Practicing the strokes

♡  Make sure that you also feel happy and not stressed! Take a few deep breaths before you start. Shake out your arms and hands. Ask your baby if they would like a massage to soothe and relax them.

♡  Bring baby close to you so they can see you and feel safe.

♡ Use a sing-song voice with lots of encouragement and praise.

♡ Start slowly and gently on the tummy, see how babies tummy feels, it is hard or soft? If you feel you can, sink your fingers gradually in a little deeper. Always watch for babies signals to see if you need to stop.

When to practice and how often

♡ As a preventative to make sure those air bubbles aren’t having the opportunity to stick together and form those hard pockets of air - twice a day is very good if you can! This might be once in the morning (remember to leave 45 mins between feeds) and once in the afternoon. This will really help to get those air bubbles moving through the bowel as much as they possibly can throughout the day.

Essential oil use

If you feel you would like to and feel confident using Essential Oils, they can be very relieving for digestive issues and wonderfully supportive emotionally as well as physically. Essential oils must be used with caution, sparingly and never ingested.. Safe oils for babies are Lavender Lavandula angustifolia, Roman Chamomile Anthemis nobilis and Mandarin Citrus reticulata. Lavender in particular is amazing for calming and relaxing.. Roman Chamomile for relieving stomach cramps and pain and Mandarin for ‘fractious babies’. Oils must always be very high quality and organic if possible. Here in the UK, I recommend Neals Yard to ensure safety and quality. Electric steam diffusers are also a fantastic way to diffuse the oils into a room safely. If you would like advice on essential oil use please consult a qualified aromatherapist.

Research from the Touch Institute Miami into Lavender Oil for Babies:

Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants.

Very young infants were given a bath with or without lavender-scented bath oil. The mothers in the lavender bath oil group were more relaxed, smiled and touched their infants more during the bath. Their infants looked at them a greater percentage of the bath time and cried less and spent more time in deep sleep after the bath. The cortisol levels of this group of mothers and infants significantly decreased, confirming the behavioral data showing increased relaxation of the mothers and their infants. These findings support a body of research showing the relaxing and sleep-inducing properties of lavender aroma*

Field, T., Cullen, C., Largie, S., Diego, M., Schanberg, S. & Kuhn, C. (2008).  Early Human Development, 84, 399-401.

*I have included this research out of interest but please be aware that Lavender Essential Oil in the bath could be ingested by your baby and must be monitored with caution. If you would like to try a bath with lavender oil - One or two drops maximum of Lavender EO must be mixed into a tablespoon of milk before adding into the bath. The fat in the milk disperses the oil so that the Lavender oil doesn’t ‘sit’ on the top of the bath water.

Try this short but effective massage routine in the video and let me know how you get on ♡ :


I really hope this helps. Please let me know if you have had any success. Good luck!

Love Lucy ♡





Baby Yoga for colic, constipation, gas and wind

Babies suffering with colic and painful trapped gas and wind will find relief through the combination of stretches and movements in Baby Yoga. Babies with tummy pain often prefer the Yoga movements over the massage as they find it less intense.

How does Baby Yoga help?

 Babies take in a lot of air when they feed or cry and the air can get trapped in the bowel. Once you have a few air bubbles stuck in the bowels, they tend to form large pockets of air that gives babies that uncomfortable hard tummy, characterised often by babies drawing their legs up towards their tummy to try and expel the gas. Doing these movements with them, we are mechanically moving the air out of babies body.

Precautions

♡  Please consider waiting for your babies 6 week check before practicing baby yoga.

♡  If you have any concerns with your babies hips please clear with your GP before trying these stretches.

Before you start

♡  Please make sure you have waited around 45 minutes after your babies last feed to practice this sequence of movements.

♡ Find a comfortable space on the floor, turn off the TV, your phone and feel free from any distractions.

♡  Feel confident that your baby is happy, well and ready to participate. Things to consider: Are they making eye-contact, making happy cooing noises, do they seem playful?

Practicing the movements

♡  Make sure that you also feel happy and not stressed! Take a few deep breaths before you start. Shake out your arms and hands. Ask your baby if they are ready to try some fun yoga moves to help them feel better.

♡  Bring them close to you so they can see you and feel safe.

♡ Use a sing-song voice with lots of encouragement and praise. Try the song! They love to hear you singing.

♡  Only take the movements as far as baby wants to. If you come up against resistance, bounce the legs gently saying ‘relax’ and try again. All babies have different flexibility, if at any time they are uncomfortable please stop and try again another day!

When to practice and how often

♡ As a preventative to make sure those air bubbles aren’t having the opportunity to stick together and form those hard pockets of air - twice a day is very good if you can! This might be once in the morning (remember to leave 45 mins between feeds) and once in the afternoon. This will really help to get those air bubbles moving through the bowel as much as they possibly can throughout the day.

Have a go with this short video tutorial and let me know how you get on ♡ 


I really hope this helps. Please let me know if you have had any success. Good luck!

Love Lucy ♡