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Back Rubs and Foot Massages

Studies have shown that all human beings need touch from other human beings to feel loved, safe, appreciated and relaxed. Infants who are not regularly touched with love, die or become very troubled adults.

Back rubs and foot massages are a wonderful way to bond with your child or youth. They are a way for him / her to relax and reduce stress. These tension relievers show the child or youth that she / he is loved, cared for, and important. They build self-confidence and teach the child or youth how to give and receive love, caring and attention as well as connecting the child or youth to his / her body in calm ways.

Most children & youth like some form of foot rubs, back massages, back scratches, or hair stroking, especially before sleep. These help children & youth calm down and release tension.

Human feet are remarkable. Rubbing them and massaging them will cause almost instantaneous relaxation. Much healing can happen through skillful massaging of the feet. Check out Reflexology if you want more information.

Massaging the human back also has a great benefit in releasing tension and evoking what is called the relaxation response.

Massage your children or youth’s back, shoulder, spine above the belt line, and arms, hands, legs beneath the knee, ankles, feet. Avoid touching children or youth in the groin area, upper thighs, chest and breast area (male or female). Children get very confused and can get into trouble later in life when they are touched there because a number of nerve endings in these areas gives strong pleasurable sensations that affect emotions and thinking. Always use “safe touch.”

Expressing love to children may be difficult for some parents. Some parents don’t touch their children because they are so afraid of sexually or physically abusing their children. Touching your child or youth may evoke strong emotions which can be frightening and confusing for some parents. Memories of how they were touched in a harmful way as children may make it difficult to feel comfortable touching their children or youth.

Teach your children about good touch and bad touch. Make sure to teach your children as soon as they are old enough to understand that they should tell you when someone touches them with “bad touch”. Teach children where it feels okay with them to be touched and where it is not okay to be touched without permission.

Pay attention to times when children or youth don’t like to be touched. It can be a signal of a loss of trust in you, adults in general, fear or anger towards parents and / or adults, as a sign of isolation and alienation, a time of deep hurt, a time of embarrassment about their bodies. Not liking touch may be a sign of communication breakdown, and / or a sign of some kind of abuse.

You can also ask your child to help you reduce your tension by giving you a rub or a massage. Stick to feet, lower legs, upper backs, shoulders, arms and hands. Children often enjoy helping their parents / caregivers. The important thing is that human touch is happening for the child or youth. This helps her / him calm down, relax, and refresh.

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