Your complete guide to natural therapies

Struggling with sleeping or troubled by teething? Our guide to natural therapies could help with your little one’s health problems…

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Baby massage

What is it?

Gentle, soothing stroking of your little one’s body with your hands. You can also lightly manipulate your baby’s fingers, wrists and ankles.

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Tell me more

Baby massage expert Justina Perry (mamababybliss.com) says: “The only tools you need are your fingertips, making it an easy way to soothe and nurture your baby. But there are important dos and don’ts you need to grasp. You can learn baby massage in one session, but it’s better to attend a succession of classes and pick it up bit by bit.”

Used to help

Wind, constipation and colic. It’s used to reduce crying, help with sleep, and is thought to encourage growth in premature babies. It’s also used to boost your baby’s immune, digestive and respiratory systems, stimulate the circulatory system and help the nervous system.

How much?

Around £10 for a group class or £40 for an individual 90-minute session.

“Freya was diagnosed with clicky hips straight after birth. I really liked the idea of being able to soothe and calm her by using baby massage and it still proves helpful now if she’s unsettled or teething.”

Jerrica Daws, 29, from Bedfordshire, mum to Freya, 6 months

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Could Cranial Osteopathy be perfect for you and your baby?

Cranial osteopathy

What is it?

Osteopaths use light pressure to release tensions in your little one’s body and head. A bit like other forms of massage, the theory goes that a certain pressure may build up in one part of the body and affect a very different area.

Tell me more

Lucy Allen, head of osteopathy at Lomax Bespoke Fitness, Nutrition and Wellbeing, says: “Cranial osteopathy works particularly well for children, who aren’t suited to more intrusive methods. We use it to help children in many practical and life-improving ways, including recovering from the stresses and strains of birth and assisting speedier recovery from illness and operations.”

Used to help

Prevent repeated ear infections, colic and feeding difficulties

How much?

Sessions start from £45.

“My daughter had bad reflux and colic as a newborn and used to scream all day. At 5 weeks old, we tried cranial osteopathy. After four sessions, she was a different baby.”

Rebecca Coggins, 34, from Nottinghamshire, mum to Louisa, 2

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Reflexology

What is it?

Massage of specific pressure points on your little one’s feet and hands. The theory goes that these points are linked to particular areas of the body and applying pressure can trigger healing in these areas.

Tell me more

“Baby reflexology is designed for babies and toddlers, to alleviate common ailments and symptoms,” says reflexologist Karina Hirani (sweetfeet.uk.com). “Parents can either go to a qualified practitioner for one-to-one sessions, or attend a certified Baby Reflex Workshop by a qualified therapist in their local area, who’ll teach them to use reflexology on their children.”

Used to help

Sleep problems, teething pain and digestion problems such as reflux, colic or indigestion. It’s also used to boost the immune system, which can help ear, nose and throat infections, cold and flu symptoms and allergies.

How much?

Between £15 and £30 for a one-to-one session and £40 to £60 for a Baby Reflex Workshop (babyreflex.co.uk).

“Learning the key reflexology points and carrying these out on Logan has helped to ease his teething pain, colds and restlessness as it really calms him.”

Maya Collins, 30, from Hertfordshire, mum to Logan, 8 months

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Acupuncture can help to bring on labour in pregnant women.

Acupuncture

What is it?

In this traditional Chinese medicine, ultra-fine, sterile needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points in your tot’s body to balance the vital energy (also referred to as chi). Sounds scary, but surprisingly it really doesn’t hurt.

Tell me more

Acupuncturist June Tranmer, from the British Acupuncture Council, explains: “It’s a very safe treatment for babies, toddlers, and children of all ages when applied by a properly trained and experienced practitioner. However, we have to be particularly careful to not over-treat, as children do respond so quickly to it. Less is definitely more.”

Used to help

Skin problems, teething pain and certain hearing and eye problems, as well as digestive, respiratory and sleep issues. “We can also help with the side effects of medication, and work alongside ongoing medical treatment, from common ailments to congenital disorders and more serious situations,” says June.

How much?

Around £40 an hour and £25 to £30 for a follow-up 30-minute treatment.

“My daughter suffered badly with reflux when I introduced solids and was sick after each feed. After one session, the reflux lessened. The needles are only in for a few seconds, and Charlotte didn’t seem to notice.”

Alison Gleasure, 43, from Buckinghamshire, mum to Charlotte, 1V

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Baby massage can help soothe and relax your newborn

Chiropractic

What is it?

A way of adjusting the bones of your baby’s body to improve the alignment of his skeleton, so that his nervous system can work better. The McTimoney method is particularly suited to little ones.

Tell me more

“Most of these problems are a result of the birthing process and the pressure it places on the head and other parts of the body, which affects the nervous system,” says McTimoney chiropractor Deirdre Edwards (abacushealth.co.uk). “The releases we use are so gentle, they’re safe even for babies.”

Used to help

Sleep problems, discomfort and pain without any clear reason, and feeding difficulties like problems latching on, colic and constipation.

How much?

Average cost for a session is £35 to £55.

“Chiropractic treatment helped Alice feel better very quickly when she was suffering from constipation and colic. It also helped treat Sam’s stiffness on his right side caused by a strawberry mark.”

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Jo Holt, 39, from Warwickshire, mum to Sam, 2, and Alice, 5 months

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