EXPRESS YOURSELF – using massage to encourage communication with your children

A couple of months ago I talked about the ‘Importance of Touch’ and what it means to us as a species, how it releases feel good hormones and how important it is for our well-being and immune system.

As we are all currently coping with less touch and contact with our extended families, our friends and colleagues its important at this time to address the lack of physical contact that we are missing.  Even more so for our Children!

Children’s Mental Health week starts Mon 1st February and the theme is ‘express yourself’. Receiving a massage is a wonderful way to allow your child to open up and talk about their feelings and also gives them the opportunity of receiving a nurturing touch.

Alongside my career as an Aromatherapist I have taught baby massage to parents and cares for over 20 years. Teaching our children the importance of positive touch is a wonderful thing. Why not try a little massage with your kids and who knows, they may offer you one back!

Children are wonderfully honest so they will let you know if something doesn’t feel good, so be guided by them. Choose a time that is good for both of you, bedtime might be appropriate, or you may feel that you could offer them a massage during the day to break up home schooling.

Choose a warm room, make sure you have everything to hand. Its really important that you are comfortable as the giver of the massage, so make sure you can move your body in a good way and that you are not leaning or bending over and causing yourself discomfort.

You can work with a blend, see below, or just use a base/vegetable oil. Or you can work over clothing if your child feels more comfortable with that. Start with the back, ask them to lie on their tummy. If all goes well you can continue to other areas of the body. Children respond very well to having their tummy’s massaged!

You may want to tell a story as you massage. Using your hands, you can trace out different weather for example. Draw a large circle for the sun, swoosh your hands quickly over their back for the wind or patter your fingers for the rain.

If you are massaging skin to skin take a little of the blend or your base oil and follow this easy guide:

  • Take a small amount of oil into your hands and rub your palms together, you want your hands to glide over the skin, if there is any dragging add a little more oil.
  • Place your hands on their lower back, glide your hands up to the shoulders, stroke out over the shoulders and glide down to your staring point.
  • Mould your hands to the shape of their body.
  • Next time you reach the shoulders stroke down the arms too
  • Using your thumbs make small circles up either side of the spine – DO NOT put direct pressure over the spine
  • Take your hands up to the shoulders and gently squeeze the muscles over the top of the shoulders
  • Repeat each stroke

If you wish to use essential oils this is a recommended blend for children above the age of three. If you are massaging a younger child just use a plain cold pressed vegetable oil.

This blend is soothing and comforting.

To 30  ml of blending oil add the following:

3 drops Mandarin Citrus reticulata

2 drops Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia

1 drop Roman Chamomile – Anthemis nobilis

Store in a container (preferably glass) with a lid and use within three months of preparing the blend.

Enjoy giving your massage and opening a comfortable, reassuring dialogue with your children!



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