Have you heard of reflexology? Do you know what it is? Once clueless a few months ago, it has now become my regular treat: as enjoyable as a child-free glass of wine and as essential as getting my contact lenses delivered each month. I stumbled across it after reading this blog post from Mum in a Nutshell. At the time I had neck and back pain, leftover postnatal hormones, a foggy mind and low mood. From talking to other friends this is pretty much a standard for us mums, at some point or another. But I didn’t want to let it get worse, in fact I wanted to do something about it – so I decided to try out this complementary therapy.
How does it work?
The feet contain reflexes that correspond to points in our bodies, for example the top of the big toe is related to the head. Essentially, the feet are like a map and by looking them and massaging certain areas, a reflexology practitioner can identify and relieve tension and heal the body. Reflexology can help with everything from fertility, circulation, stress, anxiety & depression, digestive issue, hormones, migraines, stiffness in the back & neck, sinus problems and headaches.
I had one session and what struck me the most was just how light I felt getting up from the chair again, like I’d shed 5lbs! It was so strange because obviously (sadly) I hadn’t physically lost weight by sitting in a chair for an hour, but by easing my neck pain, helping me breath better (by working on my diaphragm) and relieving some stagnant toxins, I suppose some sort of ‘weight’ had been lifted. It’s both amazing and ridiculous how much stuff we carry around in our bodies without realising. I have continued to have sessions, which have eventually settled my hormones, which I’m sure Daddy Rules is grateful for (if he doesn’t argue that they are very much still there). I get headaches rarely now, as opposed to every other day. Some reflexology sessions I come out feeling giggly and giddy with happiness at the difference.
How can it help my children?
During one of my sessions, my practitioner Sarah, told me how she uses reflexology on her children at bedtime. How lucky they are, I thought, to have a reflexologist as a mum. I mentally noted that I must introduce it to my girls when they are older; I certainly wished I’d known about it during those times of hormone surges and exam stress.
A couple of weeks past and Sarah said she was going to be teaching Children’s Reflexology. With teething and tantrums being my children’s speciality that no amount of my own reflexology can soothe, I was keen to learn more so we arranged a group at my house with a couple of friends and five small children….
The Day I Broke My Reflexologist
……..ha! Our Children’s Reflexology class was actually a lovely experience. It was certainly different to the baby massage class I’d taken when the eldest was a baby*
(*when I spent the whole session trying to keep my baby relaxed on the changing mat – fists clenched, back arched and my own teeth grinding slightly. I recall that the addition of olive oil scenario didn’t help very much, it was akin to pouring oil over a wild seal pup…)
So no, we didn’t actually break our reflexologist. We had a fun and relaxing time and touched upon some useful skills. There were two pre-schoolers, one baby and two early toddlers. I held the session at my house, which made it very relaxing and easy – just like a playdate with a theme. The babies were very good, lying on their pillows for 10 minutes which allowed us to get into the story. The pre-schoolers, in contrast, quickly announced that they didn’t want their feet touched. They decided to run in and out of the room, interrupting the vibes by blowing raspberries and then one of them started playing the piano. The other settled onto the carpet (reconfirming that she didn’t want her feet massaged) but did listen to the story. The Mouse’s House is a beautifully illustrated book, which guided us through the reflex points on our children’s feet, using rhyme. We picked up some excellent tips; like how to control tantrums by gentle pressing on the solar plexus reflex located just below the ball of the foot; and soothing sore gums by massaging their tiny toes. Once the babies got restless (one moves and they all do!) we continued the practice on some little feet foam feet.
I really enjoyed the taster and so did my friends. It was informal, entertaining and of course useful! I’ve since been practising my new skills on baby at bedtime after her bottle and just before her story. Which reminds me, I need to get a copy of the Mouse’s House so I can combine the two!
Want to find out more?
Sarah runs courses in the Exeter area. Courses are available with material specifically for Newborn to Pre-Crawlers; Crawlers; Toddlers; Pre-Schoolers; Mums of school children; Ante-natal (for mums in their last trimester) and additional needs. Places are limited but new courses are starting all the time – or you can do what I did and host a course for you and your friends. For more information check the Kid’s Reflex page and Reflexology Devon where you can also find out about adult reflexology for yourself, at the gorgeous Retreat, pictured below.
This blog post was written after receiving a complimentary Introduction to Children’s Reflexology.
All views are my own, with factual information sourced from Reflexology Practitioners.
Sarah did not ask me to write about my own grown-ups experience of reflexology, but I am so pleased with the benefits I had to include it!