Supporting your baby’s digestive health with Gentle Release Therapy
I often see babies in my Tiny Toes Kettering classes who are struggling in one way or another with digestive discomfort. This can present as either:
- colic-type symptoms (such as excessive crying, visible discomfort, difficulties bringing up wind etc.)
- reflux-type symptoms (regurgitation of milk accompanied by signs of discomfort/discomfort following feeds)
- constipation-type symptoms (infrequent pooing/difficulties pooing) or
- a combination of the above
These symptoms can be caused by numerous issues, but a consistent underlying theme is simply the immaturity of the digestive system. Starting at the mouth and ending at the anus, an efficient digestive system relies on the functioning of various organs & sphincters to enable food to be processed and excreted. Often, parts of the system are not quite developed enough for efficient processing and excretion, which can lead to discomfort for baby.
Conventional medicine can offer some options for digestive discomforts ranging from over the counter remedies such as anti-colic drops, herbal & probiotic supplements, anti-reflux medication and formulas. Specialist support is also available to explore whether baby may have an intolerance, in which case dietary changes (for breastfeeding mums) or formula changes may help make a difference. Similarly, specialist support is also available for breastfeeding mums whose babies are having difficulties feeding which can also contribute to digestive discomfort.
Alternative approaches to digestive discomfort include baby reflexology, baby massage, cranial osteopathy and more recently, Gentle Release Therapy.
Mums who attend my classes/1:1 sessions are often at different stages of their journey with digestive challenges. Some may be in the early stages, maybe starting to experience some issues but are not quite sure if these are ‘normal’. Others may have already been to a GP, once, or on numerous occasions, and have begun to try different strategies. A key part of my tuition is to ensure that mums are educated about digestive discomforts, empowered with the tools and techniques to soothe & support their baby’s wellbeing at home and are signposted to appropriate professional support (where applicable).
In terms of my therapies, my combination of factual information about babies’ digestive development alongside the practical tuition of Baby Reflexology & Massage has seen some great results in terms of symptom relief. Moving forward, I’ll be incorporating Gentle Release Therapy methods into my tuition, as an additional tool to help mums soothe, calm and connect with their babies.
Gentle Release Therapy is a gentle, yet powerful, energy-based therapy based on the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM theory is based on the importance of ‘vital energy’ (or ‘Chi’/’Qi’) flowing through the body. If this flow becomes blocked, the body can become out of balance. Gentle Release methods involve gently holding areas on the feet, abdomen, face and head, encouraging any energetic blockages to clear to restore balance. For example, Gentle Release Therapy might support a baby with constipation by focussing (in part) on the Illeocecal valve (ICV). This valve or sphincter is located at the junction of the small and large intestine, and helps to control the flow of digested food between the two. Dysfunction in this valve/tension in this area can lead to this valve becoming ‘stuck’, interrupting the flow, and contributing to constipation. Anatomically, this valve is located on the right hand side of the body, around half way between the hip bone and navel. By applying a Gentle Release Therapy hold in this area, we can gently encourage this area to release, encouraging energy to flow, and encouraging this area to rebalance and return to normal functioning.
These simple, gentle methods are perfect for babies and young children. They are easy to learn and can be an extremely effective tool to add to your parenting toolbox. These techniques will be integrated into my classes and one to one tuition from the end of June. Please do contact me if you’d like further information or to book.