Reflexology – Relax and Sleep
By Mariano Schiffini
At Casa Angelman Foundation, we implement daily or weekly therapy in our Educational Therapy Center where Angels can enjoy the benefits of this millennia old
technique. Hyperactivity, ADD and the sleep disturbances that are so common in children with Angelman are being treated with reflexology yielding excellent results! Reflexology is a natural technique that is based on the principle that the entire body including organs and glands are reflected on specific points on the feet. Reflexology works by activating those centers through massage and by applying pressure to specific points thus creating harmony in the centers that are out of balance and activating
the self healing energy of the body.
Over the last year and a half, I have worked with over 40 children with AS. During this time, I have observed
characteristics that have repeated themselves in the majority of cases. Lack of contact with the heel of the foot to the ground creates an imbala
nce that all children with AS whom I have worked with have. At the beginning of each session I evaluate the feet and identify areas of imbalance so that I can work on them based on the principles of water, air, land and fire. Each area of the foot has a “trigger point” that corresponds to the body system; for example, the toe area (air) corresponds to our head, sensory areas, mental state, expression and communication. By applying pressure here, we create harmony in this system; thereby, correcting the imbalance and activating the self healing energy that promotes a state of homeostasis.
During the initial session I work with the child to get him or her to be comfortable laying down on the table. Some children handle this more easily than others. With very active children it’s best not to cause distress. We increase the duration of horizontal therapy slowly until finally achieving 45 minutes of relaxation. The key point is the connection with the therapist that will grow over time, taking into consideration the appropriate duration for each child. As we begin the
session, I introduce a playful activity that includes items that are light and of soft texture; it can be a ball made of fabric that makes a slight noise or rattle to help reduce the anxiety that the new activity
causes. This way the game functions like a vehicle that permits sessions to be expanded over time until finally managing to discard it completely. At first, my work centers around relaxing the child so I can begin with the treatment technique. The treatment consists of working on different parts of the system including, circulation, digestive, lymphatic, respiratory and endocrine by massaging the corresponding reflexology areas. The ambience of the therapy must be well guarded. It is important to generate a calm and serene atmosphere that promotes relaxation while avoiding elements of distraction or interference. Instrumental music and some relaxing essential o
In such an atmosphere of serenity and acceptance, devoid of judgment, bit by bit the individual strengths of these children arise and take their roots.il; such as, sandalwood or rose helps to generate pleasant sensations and wellbeing. In my work
with children who have AS; I have noted improvements in the areas of increased attention, improved gait stability, eye contact and many children will actually fall asleep during the session. After the first few sessions children with AS often express a desire to return for further sessions and will participate happily.
Reflexologist of Casa Angelman. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: It is important to note that reflexology has been studied and proven effective for its ability to improve sleep in those who suffer from insomnia as demonstrated by a Chinese study http://www.reflexologyresearch.net/ReflexologySleepResearch.shtml.
Angel Mom Rocio Balbuena of Argentina had this to say about her experience at Casa Angelman:
“Hi, I am mother to Agustina Gonzalez, a 4 year old girl with Angelman Syndrome. I feel that the reflexology treatment that my daughter received at Casa Angelman was a great success! Agus fell asleep after the first 10 minutes of the therapy; once the session was complete, the therapist informed me: “She is asleep; don’t worry, she will sleep well for 1-2 hours”, and so it was; she was very relaxed. I strongly recommend reflexology for all children with Angelman Syndrome.”