Reflexology tends to calm the mind and relax the body, and it is particularly effective on children because they tend to be more sensitive. A little goes a long way and it can be of great benefit, especially at bedtime!
You don’t have to be a certified reflexology practitioner to give an effective massage to your child. As long as you’re able to be gentle and soothing, and you have a bit of patience, you can do it.
It’s best to have some nice cream or baby oil to rub on their feet first. Raise the feet on to a pillow covered in a towel and then use another towel to wrap around the foot you’re not working on, to keep it warm. Concentrate the massage on the tops of the feet and toes, especially the big toe, as the pressure points in this upper area are connected with the brain and head. Stimulation here should help to relax the busy brain that has been working hard processing information all day.
Depending on your child’s receptivity, it may take a couple of goes before you feel it’s really working. Some find it to be very ticklish at first. If that happens you can always adjust the pressure so you’re not stroking or tickling but massaging firmly. Don’t press so hard that it hurts. It’s not relaxing if it’s painful, so aim to get the pressure balance right. Ask you child what feels like the right amount and always aim to give the same amount of time and pressure to each foot.
It’s a good idea to start the process about 30 minutes before lights out. If you’re going to read a bedtime story, you should probably do it beforehand because the massage can make children very sleepy, very quickly. Perhaps, if they are of reading age, encourage your child to read to you while you’re giving the massage. Soon you may notice your child yawning and their eyes beginning to close. It’s such a worthwhile practice because the quality of sleep will usually be better if the body is in a relaxed state.
To find a reflexology therapist look in our directory.