Massage and Colic by Antonette Golikidis

Baby colic and massageColic can be a very stressful time, not only for baby who is crying from pains in the tummy, but also for mum, who can be feeling helpless or exhausested.

Althrough there are no universal agreements on Colic causes and treatment, there are special abdominal strokes that you can learn which are specifically designed to ease symptoms of pain, wind, constipation and digestive disturbances.

Special techniques for massaging a baby with colic include:

  • Stroke the tummy gently in a clockwise circular motion, while keeping your palms flat
  • ‘Walk’ your fingertips clockwise in a circular motion on the tummy
  • Draw the ‘n’ letter on baby’s tummy
  • Bend baby’s knees to the chest and back

Repeat these strokes consistently, several times daily, for a period of atleast three weeks. You will definetly see results at the third week, or earlier.

Get the most out of these strokes applying warmth to the babies tummy to dispel the tightness. You can do this by putting your baby in a warm bath and then, once the muscles are more relaxed, repeat through the massage strokes.

Don’t be afraid to put your baby into a warm bath, just the waist down, in the middle of the night, if that’s what you feel will help – just follow your instincts and you will find what works for you.

For a baby or toddler in good health, these strokes will quickly disperse gas, ease muscle spasm, tone the digestive system, and help to move food and expel waste efficiently.

About the Author: Antonette Golikidis has studied Natural Health Science at the Australian College of Natural Medicine and is qualified in Remedial Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy. Currently she lectures in Remedial Massage at a tertiary level. The greatest effort has gone into ensuring the information on this page is valid, however if you are concerned about the health of your child; please visit your healthcare professional.

Massage and Autism by Antonette Golikidis

Autistic children and massageAutism is usually diagnosed by age two, and symptoms include abnormally low social interaction, minimal eye contact, a fragmented attention span and a strong dislike to touch. The most heartbreaking aspect of Autism for a parent is the lack of intimate loving interaction with their child, like cuddling and holding hands.

Though it may seem like massage could be an unwanted experience with no benefits, research indicates the opposite. After one month of daily massage autistic preschool children were more attentive and showed better relationships with their teachers, while another study found that autistic children slept better after a bedtime massage by their parent. Both studies reported an improvement in touch aversion and the other great news is that most parents found that the interaction level between them and their child improved after daily massage. There’s no doubt that having a physical and nurturing relationship with your child, no matter what their health status, forsters a loving bond.

To massage a child with autism, techniques are tailored to the child’s needs by their primary caregiver.

What is certain is that Autistic children thrive on routine, so a predictable and short 15 minute massage routine (to accommodate a short attention span), at the same time daily, is recommended. Strokes in sucessful studies were smooth, firm and repetitive.

For massageing children with Autism an unscented massage oil would be most suitable, unless the child shows a particular liking to a scented massage oil. As always use an oil which is organic so that no harmleful side effects are experienced by absorbing chemicals into the skin.

Try the Little Innoscents Massage Oil to massage your child.

About the Author: Antonette Golikidis has studied Natural Health Science at the Australian College of Natural Medicine and is qualified in Remedial Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy. Currently she lectures in Remedial Massage at a tertiary level. The greatest effort has gone into ensuring the information on this page is valid, however if you are concerned about the health of your child; please visit your healthcare professional.

Greenwashing – When Green is Not So Green!

what is greenwashingWith our increasing awareness of environmental and ecological concerns, society’s slow embrace of organic and all natural products has started to shift into full gear. And while that is to be applauded, the sad fact is that in tandem with our interest in a healthier lifestyle and a healthier environment, has come shady dealers simply wishing to cash in on the trend. It’s called ‘Greenwashing’ and even if you’re never heard of the term, it’s highly likely you’ve come face to face with the handiwork.

Greenwashing is simply the deceptive practice of promoting products or services as environmentally friendly, natural or organic, when they are anything but. The term was first used way back in 1986, to describe hoteliers who placed cards into hotel rooms promoting reuse of towels to save the environment. In that particular case, the hotels involved made no effort to back up claims of environmental practices and instead were using their ‘green’ cards as a marketing ploy to attract further business. The term can now apply to all sorts of operations from energy companies to shampoo manufacturers, and even governments.

The Australian Trade Practices Act has been modified to include punishment of companies that provide misleading environmental claims, with those found guilty facing up to $1 million in fines. Unfortunately it’s still a grey area and plenty of manufacturers are becoming adept at putting forward their products as green without making any actual claims about their veracity. Use some recycled style coarse paper, add a picture of lush trees and throw in a few terms like ‘natural’, and as long as their products contain even a small percentage of natural products, they can get away with it.

So how do you ensure the ‘natural’ product you’re holding is the real deal? One way is to look for an environmental code insignia. Environmental codes which carry a monitoring system have been designed so that companies that apply for accreditation must meet strict criteria in order to be accepted. This varies according to each code so it’s worth reading the guidelines for each. The following are just a few of these codes:

Australian Certified Organic www.australianorganic.com.au

NASAA Certified Organic www.nasaa.com.au –

Energy Rating www.energyrating.gov.au

Free Range Farmers Association www.freerangefarmers.com.au

Good Environmental Choice www.geca.org.au

Green Power www.greenpower.com.au

It’s worth getting to know these organisations and reading up about their guidelines. If you see the Australian Certified Organic logo for instance, you know that product has had to meet strict guidelines in its creation and development – from how its ingredients are grown, to how its packaging has been manufactured.


Massage and Premature Babies

premmie babiesBorn weeks earlier than their due date, premature babies cannot stabilize their own body temperature and are placed into warming incubators. Unable to nurse or hold baby, the first thing mum wants to do is feed her fingers through incubator holes and lightly stroke her baby’s body.

Unfortunately changes in vital signs show that this feathery stroking is over stimulating, however a positive link has been found between appropriate massage and improved mental development, weight gain, and lowered stress levels of premmie babies.

A recent US study found that premmie babies who were massaged for several days gained a staggering 53% greater daily weight compared to unmassaged babies; and were discharged earlier from the hospital.

Premmie massage is also routinely used in Philippine hospitals to reduce stress associated with the heel-prick procedure used to draw blood for testing. And the benefits aren’t limited just to baby. Mums who regularly touch and massage their babies whilst they are in an incubator, also recover faster from labour and birth.

Massaging the Premmie Baby

When massaging a premmie, it’s important to ease into a massage technique under the guidance of a professional, such as a Remedial Massage therapist, nurse, or instructor trained specifically in premmie massage. Generally a 3-phase approach is used:

  1. Containment – where baby’s hands and legs are drawn close to his body to emulate amniotic conditions
  2. Kangaroo care – where parents hold baby skin to skin on their chest underneath a blanket
  3. Massage – on the arms, legs and tummy only

About the AuthorAntonette Golikidis is the creator of Little Innoscents and qualified in Health Science, Remedial Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy. While the greatest effort has gone into ensuring the information on this page is valid if you are concerned about the health of your child please visit your healthcare professional.

Birthmarks Fact Sheet By Antonette Golikidis

What are birthmarksWhat are birthmarks?

As the name suggests, a birthmark is any mark present on the skin at birth, or that appears soon afterwards. They are very common and generally harmless.

How to recognise birthmarks

Birthmarks come in various shapes, colours and textures:

Strawberry marks are red, raised and lumpy, usually appear around 1 to 4 weeks of age, and gradually fade. They can bleed if knocked and it’s advisable to let them disappear naturally, as there is usually little or no scar.

Stork marks or salmon patch are generally pink, flat and irregular and appear on the nape of the neck or face. Most disappear within a couple of years.

Mongolian spots are blue or grey irregular, flat patches found on back, bottom, legs or shoulders. They are more common among those with darker skin colouring, and fade over time.

Port wine stains may change from pale pink to deep red-purple over time, and can thicken or become lumpier. The may appear anywhere on the body, but usually on the face.

Café au lait spots are flat, oval light brown spots. Many children have one or two of these.

Congenital melanocytic naevus can appear as small moles and freckles, or larger dark marks that sometimes grow hairs. They are either raised and lumpy or flat and irregular.

What causes birthmarks?

No one knows for sure. Their appearance can run in families but the marks themselves will not necessarily be similar to those of other family members.

Treatment

Most birthmarks are harmless and some fade over time. Treatment options include laser therapy. Occasionally, a birthmark may be a sign of other problems or diseases. Always consult your healthcare professional if you are unsure, or if the mark changes unexpectedly.

About the Author: Antonette Golikidis has studied Natural Health Science at the Australian College of Natural Medicine and is qualified in Remedial Massage Therapy and Aromatherapy. Currently she lectures in Remedial Massage at a tertiary level. The greatest effort has gone into ensuring the information on this page is valid, however if you are concerned about the health of your child; please visit your healthcare professional.

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