From infant massage and chiropractic to yoga and meditation for kids, choose and combine the most suitable holistic therapies for your children to make sure they stay happy and healthy, and thrive in all aspects of their life. Chronic health problems continue to affect the health of our children. Many of them are being treated with stimulant and anti-depressant medications for conditions, such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), aggression and anxiety.
High rates of asthma, allergies, respiratory infections, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, including chronic fatigue syndrome and various cancers such as leukemia have seen an upswing.
Parenting offers an unprecedented opportunity to reevaluate our attitudes towards health and healing and can be a pivotal time to embrace more holistic models of living. From trying yoga for the first time while pregnant, to realizing the impact of toxins in household cleaning products and processed foods, many parents-to-be are making the connection between their attitudes and our environment and how that affects all aspects of the well-being of your child.
Here are 5 of the most effective wellness modalities that support children in illness and health, from newborn babies to teens.
Infant Massage is an invaluable tool to explore as you and your baby get to know each other. It has the benefits of bonding, releasing feel good bonding hormone oxytocin. The hormone released aids the contraction of the uterus and the production of breast milk.
Babies who experience regular infant massage sleep deeply and when awake are happy and alert. Plus it empowers parents – dads can practice the techniques as well – as they learn how something as simple as nurturing touch can ease baby’s discomforts and ailments from colic and constipation and they begin to build a toolbox of self-help techniques that become essential to their parenting toolkit.
Craniosacral is a gentle, non-invasive type of bodywork that works with attuning to the rhythm of our body’s craniosacral system, ie the network of membranes and fluid that surround and support the brain and spinal cord from the bones of the head (cranium) down to the bones at the base of the spine (sacrum).
It is a subtle but physical way for people to regain a sense of themselves that connects emotions with the body and mind, so it helps people gain self-confidence and be themselves without fear. While craniosacral therapy works for children (and adults) of all ages.
Children from zero to four years respond particularly fast to craniosacral work, because they are sensitive and their mental-emotional-physical patterns are not yet deeply ingrained, while teenagers benefit from cranio as it can help them resolve emotional and sexual issues that they may experience with their changing bodies in a non-threatening, safe way.
Chiropractors specialize in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body, which helps to relieve pain, restore normal functioning to the joints and supporting muscles and ligaments, thus maintaining balance in the nervous system, of which our spinal cord is an essential part.
There are so many stresses going through life – physical, emotional, chemical – that can affect the nervous system. Chiropractic care works to balance the nervous system and in turn facilitate a child to achieve and maintain optimum well-being within themselves. This is simply keeping the pathways between the brain and spinal cord, nerves, cells and organs in balance and open.
While we don’t think of children experiencing stress in the same way as adults, modern life with its fast pace, digital media distractions and higher expectations on children in the way of scholastic and extra curricular success does impact children with stress. Yoga, taught in an age-appropriate way, with visualisations, story-telling, singing and movement, can be a wonderful release and rekindle children’s natural awareness and intuition. It has also been proven to reduce ADHD, increase self-esteem, promote compassion, kindness and focus and helps children to navigate their shifting emotions with ease.
In a world where there is so much pressure on external achievement and competition, Yoga allows children to be themselves and their mat is their personal space. We love Bent on Learning for the work they do with yoga and children in NYC public schools. For small children try Tara Guber’s Yoga Pretzels cards.
From feeling more connected to their inner world, to feeling greater peace, relaxation, focus and well-being, meditation for children – as young as five and up to their college years – is a proven technique of easing stress and experiencing more balance in one’s mind and body.
Mindfulness and meditation have made inroads into school systems, including programs like actress Goldie Hawn’s MindUp, which teaches social and emotional learning skills that link cognitive neuroscience, positive psychology and mindful awareness training to help children feel happier, more relaxed and more able to cope and thrive with school curriculums and general life.