reflexology relief baby

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 ♡