baby and kids massage
We use a lot of massage in our home, but probably because my husband is really crazy about massage. We also like to use it when colds are starting to lurk around the house... I really believe that there are a lot of applications for massage and we like to test out different ways in which it can be used. I also use palm healing (which I have talked about before), mostly because I really get a sense that I am healing my kids when I do it and it seems to work pretty well for our family. In Japanese tradition shiatsu works to harmonize and relax their overall condition, shiatsu is a good habit to get into for the whole family (even grandparents!).
It is important to remember that when you are applying massage or giving your kids remedies to keep them pretty mild, kids bodies are much cleaner than ours and therefore need less to heal them. You may like your massage strong and supportive but on your kids it should be light and gentle.
I found this good description in "Macrobiotic Child Care & Family Health" by Michio and Aveline Kushi (it may be out of print but I think that you can find it, even used, on Amazon):
"In the case of a stomach ache ask your kids to lie on the floor with their knees up and feet on the floor. The stomach meridian runs down the outside-front of both legs to the second and third toes, gently stimulating this meridian can help ease comfort or stagnation in the stomach. Sit facing your childs legs, gently grip the leg with the thumb on the inside and th efingers opposite to it on the outside. Beginning just below the knee, use the fingers to press down the stomach meridian on the leg and then across the top of the foot to the second and third toes. Use the thumb to support the fingers. The legs and feet can be massaged simultaneously or one at a time.
When massaging the stomach meridian, stop in the area of called the 'san-ri' point, located on the outside of the leg below the knee. With the index and middle fingers, give extra massage to this point. use a rotating, circular motion and massage the point for several minutes before proceeding down the meridian.
The second and third toes can be massaged once the meridians have been treated. To do this, straighten the child's leg and hold the foot by placing one hand under the heel. Use the thumb and index finger of the other hand to gently grasp each toe. Begin at the base of the toe and with a gentle, pinching motion, work outward to the tip. Then pull and rotate the toe and pull and snap the fingers gently off the top. Repeat this procedure on the two toes of each foot that are part of the stomach meridian."
This is a great way that massage can be used for healing, but we also like to massage for a general healthy outlook. Just before getting into pajamas we like to lie on the floor, and I use Weleda children's Calendula oil, which we love in our family for it's smell and also it's healing powers, but we also like to use plain old Organic Olive Oil (yes, just the one that you use in your kitchen is fine!). We do an all over body massage, your kids will tell you where they like it best, and if there is a tender spot, take some time to gently massage that point to relieve stagnation. this is also a good way to take stock in your children's skin, checking any moles or marks and watching them for odd behavior.
I really like to use Palm Healing, and it's a nice thing to use on babies, it makes for good bonding time. When the stomach or intestinal energy centers become overly tight or contracted, applying the palms can help loosen and energize them. The right palm, which conducts more of earth's expanding force, is generally more effective for this purpose. When the digestive energy centers become overly expanded or weak, applying the palms can help strengthen and consolidate them. The left palm conducts more of heaven's descending energy and is generally more effective for this purpose. I use the following two methods which I found in my favorite book "Macrobiotic Child Care and Family Health" by Michio and Aveline Kushi.
1) Applying palms to the stomach energy center (stomach chakra). The child should lie comfortably on the back. With a straight but relaxed posture, breath normally and quietly and place one hand lightly on the solar plexus just below the breastbone or sternum, place the center of the palm directly over this spot. Breathe and keep the palm in place for 1 to 20 minutes. Makue sure that the child is properly coverd during the application. I personally like to think about pulling whatever sickness out of them and then shaking my hands off when finished.
2) Applying the palms to the stomach energy center and the second and third toes. This application is based on the complementary/antagonistic relationship that exists between the inner regions of the body and then periphery. The child can lie comfortably on their back as above, place one hand on the abdomen and with the thumb and fingers of the other hand, lightly grasp the second and third toes (either foot is fine). Close your eyes and breathe quietly and gently. After about 5-7 minutes release the second and third toes and gently grasp the toes of the other foot. Keep the other hand in the same position on the abdomen. continue for another 5-7 minutes and then remove both hands.
I honestly use Palm Healing for just about any ailment, using the guidelines above as a reference. If your child has a particular ailment I would suggest getting a massage book so that you can learn the meridians that can be helpful. Most Yogo studios have courses in infant massage which would be a wonderful way to learn and massage with a group.
We have a masseuse friend that visits us up here in Rhode Island, we have learned a lot from him because he has studied a few different kinds of massage therapy. My husband swears by him and when I was pregnant he was amazing! I think that there is a special massage that new parents need, and especially moms as we don't tend to work on our arm strength as much, but he hits the jackpot and does this really refreshing massage on my arms that is wonderful! and then the rest is just icing on the cake as far as I am concerned. Our friends name is John and he lives in New York and can come to your house if you are in need of special care, we love him around here! I will ask him to comment with a means of getting in touch with him.
good luck and just remember massage with love, not resentment! Please comment with your good massage stories, I know there are a lot of them!