Is Acupressure Therapy Safe for Babies?

For some parents, this might be the first time hearing about Acupressure. It is a form of reflexology massage that is treated as an alternative approach to ailments in adults and children as opposed to medication. When parents practise Acupressure, it can build a strong relationship between parent and child as it requires mum or dad to apply pressure on specific pressure points on their child to offer comfort and relief. 

Acupressure is an all-natural and safe therapy which originates all the way from ancient China. Just like acupuncture, it is based on the same fundamental principle whereby healing can be achieved when specific acupoints are activated across the body’s meridian lines. Meridian lines are like circuit networks in the body that channels our energy flow. Thus when a pressure point is triggered, it transports energy throughout the body to treat the affected area. Acupressure has brought relief for common mild ailments such as constipation and nasal congestion, just to name a few. While some remain sceptical about its effectiveness, some swear by it and consider it among the best holistic approach. However, getting results requires you to apply the right technique and pressure onto the correct reflex points. Below are some of the acupressure points for common ailments in babies.

1. Constipation

Constipation is very common amongst babies who just started solids and Acupressure is one way to help if you do not want to resort to medication.

To treat it, place your fingers near your baby’s navel and tap his or her stomach area lightly with your fingers. Next, tap gently on both the sides of your baby’s navel ten times. Allow your fingers to trail around the navel area in circles before ending with gentle strokes of massage with your hand around the stomach area in a clockwise motion.

2. Congestion

A baby is highly irritable when his or her nose is congested because young babies only know how to breathe through their nose. They only start learning to breathe through their mouths between the age of 3 – 4 months. So just imagine when their tiny little nostrils are blocked with mucus, and they can only rely on gravity to clear them! 

To remedy this, you need to place both your forefingers on either side of your baby’s nose, just next to the nostrils. Then massage gently upwards almost to the eyebrows, back down to the side of the nose, under the cheekbones and over the ears. Do this for 10-20 seconds. You can repeat the massage point up to 6 times a day keeping a gap of 2-3 hours in between.

3. Teething Pain 

Acupressure for teething babies is a great way to alleviate some of the pain in the gums. Although teething biscuits and toys allow your baby to apply pressure on their gums, you can also press on the outer side of both the forearms and just three fingers above the wrist crease to offer relief.

The other pressure point is located just under the thumb, on the inside of the hand. Parents can press and massage both points gently for about 10 to 20 seconds, repeating once every 2 hours.

4. Pressure Points for Sleep

If your little bubs is mixing up his or her sleeping schedules, Acupressure can help. This is again normal, and most babies generally correct their sleeping patterns as they slowly adjust to life on the outside.

The pressure point to make your baby sleep is an easy one and chances are you might have even applied Acupressure without you even knowing it. All you need to do is press in between your baby’s eyebrows and gently stroke that area with your forefinger for 10 – 20 seconds. Your baby will be asleep in no time.

5. Colic

One of the most challenging and frustrating ailment in babies is colic. Colic is usually accompanied by frequent, prolonged and intense crying or fussiness. It is hard to pinpoint the cause of colic in babies. It could be stem from a digestive system that isn’t fully developed, food allergies or intolerance, overfeeding, underfeeding, infrequent burping, the list is endless.

The pressure point to relieve colic in babies is located on your baby’s back, just a little away from the spine and halfway in between the hipbone and the rib cage.

Just apply gentle pressure onto the point for about 10 to 20 seconds, and your baby should start to feel a lot better.

6. Fever

Aside from sponging, you can also try to Acupressure on mild fevers. All you need to do is, apply gentle pressure onto the reflex point just below the thumbnail, without pinching too hard and hold it for 10 to 20 seconds.

You can repeat this every 2 to 3 hours until the temperature comes down. Do not be overzealous about not seeking medical help. If your baby’s temperature does not come down, take him or her to the doctor without delay.



7. Cough

There’s even an Acupressure point that can help cure cough and chest congestion in babies. It is located in the area below the fingernails and above the knuckles of the forefinger.

To administer relief, just hold your baby’s finger and rub it gently. Alternatively, you can also massage your baby’s neck and chest gently with a tiny bit of organic oil that was steeped with herbs and spices. Just remember to strain the oil so as not to add friction on your baby’s delicate skin.

8. Body Pain

The feet are probably the only part of the body with the most reflex points for the entire body. It is divided into various pressure zones that provide relief for the head and teeth area, sinuses, solar plexus, upper abdominal area, lower abdominal area and pelvic area. 

However, most of the pressure points for body aches are located mainly in the pads of the foot. Just apply some pressure on the pressure points for a couple of seconds with your thumb and forefingers and then massage them as per the picture. A good tip is to follow up with a warm bath after the massage as it will also help your baby to relax and sleep well.

Preparing Your Baby for Acupressure

Before attempting Acupressure on your baby, create a calming environment, and this includes calming yourself too. Do not go into it thinking that all would go wrong and your little one would just cry during the entire session. It is normal for babies to cry when they are unswaddled or stripped bare for a massage for the first time. Give Acupressure a fair chance, but know that if your baby doesn’t seem comfortable, you can always stop. Here are a couple of things to bear in mind before each session: 

  • Start with clean hands, and if you’re using oil, use only a tiny amount and make sure the oil you’re using is either food-grade or deemed safe for babies.
  • Make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature for your baby and remember to line the mattress with some protective sheets if you are using oil.
  • Do not exceed more than 10 – 20 seconds for any of the pressure points, but you can repeat the same pressure point after 2-3 hours if needed. 
  • Each acupressure session should not last for more than 10-20 minutes a day. 
  • Even though Acupressure can help hyperactive children, it is better to leave it to the experts as it can result in behavioural changes in them. 

Steps on how to prepare your baby for an acupressure session:

  • If your little one is upset, try calming him or her down with some cuddles. There is nothing more therapeutic than being held securely in mum or dad’s arms.
  • It is okay if things don’t work out the first time around. It will take some getting use to for both parties. 
  • Slowly introduce touch and gentle massages when you’re holding your baby, and when he or she is finally calm, you can put him or her gently on the bed to begin.
  • Determine what is ailing your baby and apply pressure to the right points. Remember not to use too much pressure so as not to harm your baby.
  • When massaging, there will be some friction, especially if you are not using any oils. Always err on the side of using less force since babies have very delicate skin.

Acupressure is a great and inexpensive way of healing which is worth trying. However, in case of extreme or severe health issues, it is better to consult a doctor rather than fixing it with home remedies. Acupressure should only be seen as an alternative method of healing and should never be used to replace professional medical advice.

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