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Colic

My experience in treating colicky infants has taught me that constipation has much to do with their pain. I believe that matter, whether it be solid, liquid or gaseous is trapped within the large intestine. The matter doesn’t have enough substance and the body is not active enough to move it through the system.


September 22, 2009
By Bonnie Peters

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My experience in treating colicky infants has taught me that constipation has much to do with their pain. I believe that matter, whether it be solid, liquid or gaseous is trapped within the large intestine. The matter doesn’t have enough substance and the body is not active enough to move it through the system. It eventually lies pooled in the loops of the intestine where it becomes an irritant and causes the painful spasms felt by the baby. What is required is some encouragement in the form of massage to assist the movement of matter through the intestine and to enhance the immature functioning of the digestive system. It is important to note here that this technique done properly has seldom, if ever, failed to bring comfort when the colic was not complicated by other ailments. Knowing this may be helpful in alerting the caregiver to a more serious problem, if one exists. At such times you must be able to convince the health care provider that the problem is not colic.

colic 
Photo by Julie Lee


 

The Peters technique, derived from an intense study of anatomy and physiology and practical knowledge of the influence massage can have on countless pathologies, is simple to learn and easy to apply.

I conducted an objective study involving 20 colicky babies. I asked the moms to massage their little ones twice a day for two weeks using the Peters technique of abdominal massage. Sixteen of the children were completely relieved of colic symptoms within five days. Positive results were achieved in the other four babies by the end of the two-week period.

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The Peters Technique, derived from an intense study of anatomy and physiology and practical knowledge of the influence massage can have on countless pathologies, is simple to learn and easy to apply.

Visualize the Anatomy of the Large Intestine.  Following it backwards from the opening (the rectum), the large intestine goes up the left side of the belly from left hip to ribs (the descending colon). It then crosses the belly just under the rib cage, (the transverse colon) and on down the right side from rib to right hip (the ascending colon). I’ve described it backwards, because you need to understand how the colon or large intestine will empty with assistance from your hands on the child’s tummy.

As you massage:

  1. Remember to talk to and keep in cheerful contact with the little one;
  2. Make sure your hands and baby are warm enough and be gentle;
  3. Your strokes need to be gentle and soft, as if you are moving very soft dough under cellophane. Imagine the large intestine as a long bent tube filled with liquid;
  4. You must empty the area near the open end before you move the matter along to the emptied space;
  5. Start on a small section nearest to the rectum at the left hip, stroke down. Continue back and then the ascending colon on the right side;
  6. Remember you are assisting the emptying of the intestine; maintain the direction of flow of the large intestine, (colon) towards the rectum;
  7. For warm-up or finishing strokes always move your fingers in a clockwise direction, smooth over the circle of the large intestine. From right hip up, circle across under the ribs and down the left side.

This is understandably hard to follow in written form.  I have developed and created an instructional video on the Peters Technique. For more information on this video, “In Your Hands” Baby Massage Therapy Techniques go to www.trusttouch.com, call or fax
604-504-1952 or send e-mail to info@trusttouch.com. 

The almost immediate relief I have seen first-hand again and again, convinced me that I must share this with as many moms as will listen. Furthermore, the benefits of baby massage go far beyond the mere remedy for colic and will be evident in the child’s health both emotionally and physically for a lifetime.

Baby massage can lay down a foundation of parent and child bonding that will be the greatest gift toward
a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Parents will develop the kinder, gentle character of their child with their own loving hands.

The Peters Technique of infant abdominal massage can relieve colic, but infant massage in general also
creates some astonishing physiological, psychological and social/emotional “side effects.”

It has recently dawned on medical professionals that nurturing touch is immensely valuable physiologically. Studies at the Touch Research Institute (Dr. Tiffany Fields) have revealed astonishing benefits for premature babies receiving massage. These benefits include increased levels of growth hormone and thickening of the protective coating (myelin) of the motor nerves. 

In comparison to non-massaged premature babies, the massaged infant will sleep more deeply. He will have fewer episodes of apnea (breathing stops briefly). He will gain weight 47 per cent faster. He will be released from the hospital six days sooner. Massage contributes to the enhancement of the respiratory and digestive systems and the functioning of the heart, liver and brain.

A child experiences an amazing psychological metamorphosis during massage, as self-image improves and body-awareness increases. Research has shown that people touched over more areas of their bodies will very quickly take a greater liking to themselves.

These results offer hope to those suffering from the psychologically driven diseases of self-destruction such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa, for massage may combat the misperceptions of a child who looks in the mirror to see her emaciated form as fat and unworthy of human love or touch.

Massage can also produce long-term, far-reaching social and emotional “side effects.” Early in life, even in preschool, the child will have the ability to relate gently with his peers, and will maintain close friendships. As a parent, he or she will have learned warmth and will pass on affectionate parenting skills.


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