Background: Many infants under 4 months suffer from infantile col ic. Infants with colic cry a lot, appear to be in pain, and it is difficult to sooth them. Colic is a painful condition for the infant and very stressful to parents.
Parents in Finland get advice to try reflexology treatment for their infant, but there are no studies in Finland to support this advice.
Aim: The aim of the pilot study was to treat infants with reflexology and find out parents’ experiences of the effects of the treatment on col ic symptoms and parental stress.
Method: A total of 33 parents of 35 infants diagnosed with colic participated to the pilot study. Three certified reflexologists with health care education background and extensive experience in infant reflexology were trained to give the reflexology treatment in a standardised manner.
They treated each infant 3-4 times. The whole body reflexology treatment session consisted of gentle pressure treatment of soles and feet, hands, head, face, ears, back, neck and whole stomach area.
One treatment session lasted about 20-30 minutes, and treatments were delivered within 8-12 days. The data were collected from the parents with semi-structured questionnaires.
Results: The series of the treatments helped reduce the suffering of all the babies with infant colic. The colic symptoms disappeared on 43% of infants and decreased on the remaining 57%.
The parents reported having pleasant experiences with the treatment, regardless whether the colic symptoms disappeared or continued.
Parents stated that the treatment reduced the most typical colic symptoms; infants’ body tension, colic crying and restless movements, poor sleep quality and irregular bowel movements.
Conclusions: Reflexology treatment seems to be a safe and effective way to treat infants with colic when conducted by a health care professional with reflexology training and experience.
Keywords: colic; infant; parent; reflexology treatment; stress.
© 2019 The Authors. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Nordic College of Caring Science.
Hannula L, Puukka P, Asunmaa M, Mäkijärvi M. A pilot study of parents’ experiences of reflexology treatment for infants with col ic in Finland [published online ahead of print, 2019 Nov 20]. Scand J Caring Sci. 2019;10.1111/scs.12790. doi:10.1111/scs.12790
Actionable Information for Reflexologists
In this section you will find how this research paper enacted reflexology to produce these results. We at Reflexology.Report distilled the Methodology portion of this research paper and we are presenting you with:
- General methods used
- Organization and duration of sessions
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The purpose of this section is to make this research paper useful to all reflexologists. This is a tool developed by the Center of Reflexology and Research (Κέντρο Ρεφλεξολογίας και Έρευνας) in Greece and supervised volunteers from across the world.
Each infant was treated 3–4 times. The whole body reflexology treatment session consisted of gentle pressure treatment of soles and feet, hands, head, face, ears, back, neck and whole stomach area. One treatment session lasted about 20–30 minutes, and treatments were delivered within 8–12 days.
Κάθε βρέφος δέχτηκε ρεφλεξολογία 3-4 φορές. Η συνεδρία ρεφλεξολογίας όλου του σώματος συνίστατο σε απαλή πίεση των πέλματων και των ποδιών, των χεριών, του κεφαλιού, του προσώπου, των αυτιών, της πλάτης, του λαιμού και ολόκληρης της περιοχής του στομάχου. Μια συνεδρία διήρκεσε περίπου 20-30 λεπτά και το σύνολο των συνεδριών έλαβε χώρα σε μία περίοδο 8-12 ημερών.