Soothe Your Cranky Baby With Foot Massage

Babies typically respond very well and almost immediately to reflexology techniques. It’s effective, natural, safe, and based on the principle that certain reflex points found on the feet and hands correspond to specific organs, muscles, bones and body systems.

By applying gentle pressure to particular areas in the feet, blockages can be released to restore the flow of energy within the body. This can help soothe a cranky baby or even immediately relieve tummy pains or constipation.

You can begin using reflexology at birth, and it can be used as a valuable tool for parents to calm their children in a loving way while bonding with each other. Reflexology can be used as a natural healing technique for acute illnesses as well as part of a preventative maintenance program for overall good health.

I have gathered some tips below on using reflexology with infants from http://naturaltransition.com. 

 Finding time for reflexology

Babies get wiggly and it can be hard to find a time when baby is happy to be still to have his feet played with.

 For young babies you can try working on your baby:

  • As part of your massage routine
  • While asleep
  • While feeding
  • While rocking
  • In a carry pouch

 With older babies you can also:

  • Play this little piggy went to market or round and round the garden while pressing the relevant parts of the foot. A few presses here and there and you have a reflexology workout that is a natural extension of a fun game
  • During bath time

How often should you use reflexology?

  • For a specific chronic problem such as reflux or eczema, once a week for three to four weeks is the best way to start out. Results can then be maintained with bimonthly or monthly treatments.
  • Reflexology can also be used to maintain good general health, as an extension of your regular daily infant massage.

How to do reflexology

The basic formula of a reflexology treatment is simple.

  • Relax and bring blood flow to the foot with a quick warm up
  • Find the relevant reflex area
  • Apply a technique- Experiment with different techniques and find what works for you and your baby. This is likely to change as your baby gets older.
  • Continue technique application until symptoms stop or recede to an acceptable level. For more chronic conditions you can apply reflexology techniques consistently three times a day, symptoms or no symptoms. The goal is to break up the stress pattern. Over the course of several weeks, you should see improvement in any longer lasting symptoms.

 Popular techniques

These are techniques used by reflexologists mostly when working with adults. While these techniques are also valuable tools for working with babies and young children, as a parent working with your baby it’s  fine to invent your own techniques. The most important thing is to stimulate the appropriate reflex area and to alternate stimulating techniques with more relaxing ones. To improve the accessibility to specific reflex points you can use one hand to gently hold the toes back.

Relaxation techniques

Use stroking and milking massage strokes on the feet at the beginning and the end of the session as well as in between the stimulating reflexology techniques. This helps to take the intensity out of the session.

You can also make up you own relaxation foot massage, the more natural it feels to you, the more relaxing it will feel to your baby.

Stimulating techniques

Thumb Walking  

This technique helps to consistently hit the reflex points every time and is used by reflexologists to cover larger reflex points. This is the best way to massage the intestinal reflex area.

You can practice the thumb walking technique as outlined below and or watch the instructional video that follows.

Step 1: Grasp your thumb at the second joint. Bend and unbend the first joint.

Step 2: Rest your hands on your leg. Now bend your thumb at the first joint. Unbend it. Proceed to bend and unbend your thumb, taking small steps forward with each bend and walking down your leg.

Step 3: Now rest your fingertips on the surface of the arm. The thumb rests of the under side of the arm. Holding your fingers in place, bend and unbend your thumb on your arm. As you unbend your thumb, take a small step forward. Practice “walking your thumb” in a forward direction.

Your fingers stay in place until your hand is stretched uncomfortably. Reposition the fingers and keep them in place as the thumb again “walks” forward.

Step 4: Maintaining the position of your fingers, lower your wrist slightly. Do you notice your thumb is now exerting more pressure? Now drop your wrist lower. Do you feel even more pressure?

The amount of pressure you apply is controlled by lowering or raising the wrist. Leverage is thus created by an interplay of fingertips, wrist and thumb tip.

Step 5: As you practice the thumb walking technique on your arm, try to exert a constant steady pressure. This is most easily achieved by effective use of leverage as described above.

Note: The contact of the fingernail may create a comfort problem for the person with whom you are working. Be aware of the fingernail marks you may be leaving. If you are concerned about comfort or if you have long nails, use the flat of the finger or thumb to exert pressure or use a different technique.

Reflexology as a maintenance tool for your baby’s health

Used in this way reflexology can help your baby’s body to heal itself by detoxifying, relaxing and balancing it.

This routine can be used on a daily basis and can help to detect and even treat imbalances before your baby experiences any symptoms.

The reflex area for solar plexus is the foot’s number one point for relaxation.

Gently press your thumb there while holding around the foot with the rest of your hand.

Make small circular movements until you feel a subtle “let go” from your baby, almost like an exhalation.

Do both feet simultaneously.

Step 2

Start by the arrow on the right foot and press a little bit with your thumb. Stay a moment and try to feel the area. Are there any small irregularities just under the skin?

Massage the area gently, and move up slowly, feeling each and every little bit of the area until you reach the end of the pink color on the left foot. It can be repeated several times if your baby doesn’t protest; this will stimulate the colon and the bowel movements.

Step 3

The kidneys belong to the eliminating system of the body; they filter the blood.

Massaging the kidney points can be a great stress-reliever.

Start at the top on the right foot where the kidney area is located and massage gently for a while, then move down along the ureter and end up at the side of the foot where the bladder is situated. It is not visible on the picture, but the bladder area begins exactly where the green color ends.

Massage lightly, one foot at a time.

Step 4

You might hear a little cough when you start massaging the lung area.

Start from the bottom of the area and work your way up.

Massage one foot at a time.

Step 5

End your massage with the sinuses. These areas should be caressed. Put all your love into the massage and softly press on each toe.

If your child has a cold, this could help release mucus and clear the head.

If you feel like continuing, then massage other parts of the foot. This is the time when the two of you are sharing a deeply relaxing and loving experience. It doesn’t matter so much if you do it right; what matters is that you both enjoy it.

DISCLAIMER:  THE INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS NOT PROVIDED BY MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS AND IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.  THE INFORMATION ON THIS SITE IS NOT MEANT TO SUBSTITUTE CONSULTING WITH YOUR PODIATRIST, DOCTOR OR OTHER HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL. THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON OR THROUGH THIS SITE IS IN NO WAY INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, INFLUENCE TREATMENT OR CURE ANY FOOT OR OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS NOR IS IT A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE SERVICES OR ADVICE OF A PODIATRIST, PHYSICIAN, OR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.  YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT A PHYSICIAN LICENSED IN YOUR STATE IN ALL MATTERS RELATING TO YOUR HEALTH.

Getting Your Feet Ready For Sandal Season

Sandal season is upon us and if you are anything like the rest of us, your feet could use a little sprucing up. I always like for my feet to look fresh and healthy when I’m sporting my sandals, so I like to take some time to prep them for spring. Here are a few easy steps you can take to get your feet looking amazing for sandal season!

  1. Brighten/Whiten your toenails: Lemon juice is a great natural way to whiten and brighten your toenails. Before sandal season begins I always like to take a week with no nail polish on my toes to let them “breathe.” Then I buff them to remove the outermost layer of the nail and apply some lemon juice to whiten the nails.
  2. Deep clean/soak your feet: Soaking your feet in a basin of warm water with tea tree oil will help to kill any bacteria or fungi that may be present on your feet. Be sure to clean all the spaces on your feet with a washcloth, including the areas in between your toes.
  3. Exfoliate: Using a bristle brush, exfoliate your feet and ankles. Start at the ankle area and brush in a circular motion to the tips of your toes, working your way around the top and the bottom of the feet.
  4. Moisturize: Using a thick, creamy lotion or mask, coat the feet and let the moisturizer sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping off with a warm washcloth.
  5. Trim your toenails: While toenails are damp, clip them straight across. Be careful not to cut at an angle going into the corners, as this can encourage ingrown toenails.
  6. Buff: Buff your nails with a buffer to remove the rough, top layer of your toenails and create a nice smooth surface for your nail polish.
  7. Paint: After prepping your toes and feet, it’s finally time to paint your toenails! Be sure to use a polish that is free of toxins to prevent your nails from yellowing and to avoid any unnecessary toxins.
  8. Rock your sandals with pride!

DISCLAIMER:  The information contained on this site is not provided by medical professionals and is provided for informational purposes only.  The information on this site is not meant to substitute consulting with your podiatrist, doctor or other health care professional. The information available on or through this site is in no way intended to diagnose, influence treatment or cure any foot or other health problems nor is it a substitute for the services or advice of a podiatrist, physician, or health professional.  You should always consult a physician licensed in your state in all matters relating to your health.

Celebrity Fitness Trainer Larysa DiDio’s Three Tips for Keeping Your Feet Fit

Although your workout may start in your head, it actually begins with your feet!  Unfortunately, pain and discomfort can wreak havoc on your body and workout schedule.  No need to worry! To help you stay on schedule and feel better, I have identified the 3 most common foot problems and what you can do about them:

  1. Plantar Fasciitis (heel pain), a very common issue that creates a lot of pain, is inflammation of the tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot typically caused by muscle imbalance and tightness of the muscles on the back of the leg. Target stretching, taping the foot and wearing a supportive, orthotic device, as well as supportive footwear can help alleviate pain and help it heal.
  2. Fallen Arches are also quite common and painful. Structural deformity caused by injury, arthritis or imbalances may cause the arch of the foot to lower.  The best protocol is to wear supportive shoes and orthotics.
  3. Achilles Tendonitis, another painful issue that is characterized by inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the heel bone, is usually caused by overtraining, not warming up or previous injury. Target stretches, heel lifts, orthotics and possibly anti inflammatories can help manage pain and heal the area.

Overall, the best way to keep your feet fit is to keep them from getting injured!  Most people injure themselves when their shoes don’t fit properly or when they walk for long periods of time on poorly made shoes, further supporting the importance wearing proper fitting footwear that is supportive and comfortable.   Aetrex is one of my favorite brands because their shoes are made with orthotic support and memory foam cushions.  Not only are their Berries boots super comfortable and have supportive sides, but you can stay active in these boots all day without arch pain or blisters.  I also love the Aetrex RX Runners because the stability in the rear and forefoot is fantastic without compromising comfort.  The most important practice is to find a shoe that fits you….and to keep searching until you do.  Both your feet and body will thank you!

Aetrex Healthy Three – I’m loving it!

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As a health enthusiast, it always baffles me when people take their foot health for granted. Our feet are such an important part of our body. We depend on them to get us where we need to go, and as anyone who has ever had a foot issue knows, when your feet aren’t happy, you aren’t happy. This is why I think it’s so important to treat our feet with the love and respect they deserve!

To me, supporting our feet with proper footwear is essential to good foot health. If you are squeezing your feet into unsupportive, ill-fitting shoes, you are surely creating serious future foot problems that can be inconvenient as well as uncomfortable or even painful.

I love that Aetrex’s shoes feature the “Healthy Three.” I absolutely adore my Lynco orthotics! The fact that they are now incorporated into the footbed of the Aetrex shoes is simply awesome! They help to keep my body in alignment and my arches properly supported. I also love the super-comfy memory foam that cushions my foot and provides a customized fit. Last but not least, the anti-microbial technology maintains a healthy environment for my feet and helps to keep the “stinkies” away.

I know that when I have on comfortable shoes, it makes it that much easier to get through my busy day. When my feet are bothering me, it just makes everything I do seem like a chore. I love that these shoes help my feet feel awesome AND that they look super-cute! It’s a win-win!