Kindred Spirit Alternative Health
If your little one is experiencing problems getting off to a calm and relaxed sleep, reflexology and massage could help. Mary Atkinson gives us some practical advice for nurturing sleepy heads
A regular bedtime massage can soothe your child, mentally and physically, encouraging a peaceful night’s sleep. Set time aside – after a warm bath is ideal – so that the experience is calm for you both. Keep your strokes gentle, slow and rhythmic, with lots of repetition so that your child feels safe and nurtured. Begin with her lying on her front or side; this massage is best carried out without oils.
1 Place both hands on your child’s upper back, then trail one hand down the back with a long, feather-like stroke. When one hand reaches the lower back, the other one begins another stroke. Continue this flowing pattern with alternate hands stroking in one move.
2 Ask your child to roll over on her back. Bring your hands to her head and trace small, slow circular movements over her scalp with the pads of your thumbs and fingers. Massage all areas of her scalp that you can comfortably reach.
3. Continue these small circles over her forehead, temples and cheeks using the pads of your fingers. Keep your touch very light and slow.
4. Cover her face in gentle, reassuring strokes, working from the centre outwards. Use alternate hands. You may find this more comfortable with the backs of your hands. As one stroke finishes, so the next begins.
5. Place your hands on your child’s head, fingertips just touching. Gently cup the head and let the warmth of your hands comfort her into sleepy relaxation.
Acupressure for sleep problems
Acupressure point H 7 is helpful when your child wakes frequently at night.
Apply gentle pressure, with the pad of your thumb facing towards the little finger. Repeat on the other wrist.
If your child is restless at night and you are quite sure he is
not unwell, then this gentle reflexology sequence may help him
to settle down. This simple routine can be very effective in
slowing the breath, quietening any anxieties and clearing
the mind in preparation for sound sleep.
1. Place your thumb on the diaphragm line on the outside edge of the right foot. As you gently press in, use your other hand to rock the toes forwards. Release the pressure and gently rock them back. Repeat until your thumb reaches the inner edge of the diaphragm line. Change hands and repeat on the left foot.
2. Place the pad of your thumbs on the solar plexus reflex points on your child’s feet to help calm and relax her whole system. Gently press and hold for a count of three. Release your pressure. Repeat three times.
3. With your child’s right foot well supported, use the padded area at the top of your thumb to gently press, or make small circular pressures, on the brain reflex areas on the top of the big toe and also the tops of the next two toes. Repeat on the left foot.
4. Finish by cradling your child’s heels in the palms of your hands. Hold for a few minutes. This comforting hold feels just like the kind of ‘hug’ your child needs to drift off to a restful night’s sleep.
Scented pillow for sleep problems
Place one drop only of lavender essential oil on the corner of the underside of your child’s pillow or on the collar or back of her pyjamas. This enables the sleep-inducing aroma of lavender to float around the room, without running the risk of getting any essential oil in your child’s eyes.
This feature has been extracted from Healing Touch for Children by Mary Atkinson (Gaia, £12.99). You can purchase this book from Kindred Spirit Mail Order on page 53.