Got a sick kid with stomach flu? Learn how to help your child get better faster with this mini Chinese Reflexology routine for vomiting, an upset stomach, and dizziness. Plus, it’s great for grown-ups too!
About a year ago, my then six-year old son came down with a stomach bug. The poor little guy started puking around midnight, and threw up four times over the wee hours of the morning. His tummy hurt and he also complained about feeling dizzy. Each time he woke up to throw up, I got up and rubbed his reflexology points. Miraculously, by breakfast time, he felt better and was almost back to normal. I knew it wasn’t a miracle. It was the Chinese Reflexology—and a mother’s love, too!
Here’s a video I shot in the morning detailing his experience before and after, and the difference he felt in his reflexology points after the stomach flu had passed. I included this video as part of an article I wrote on what sensitive reflexology points say about your health.
A few weeks ago, my son had a repeat performance of the stomach virus. Because it was almost exactly a year to the date of the previous occurrence, it made me really appreciate just how attuned our bodies are to the weather. When it comes to disease, Traditional Chinese Medicine takes nature into account and how the seasons affect the body. When it’s too hot or too cold, too wet or too dry, these conditions affect the body’s natural state of balance.
In the winter, cold and damp weather can “invade” the body to cause an assortment of colds and viruses. My son came down with an energy disharmony referred to as cold invading the Stomach. Children are more prone to experiencing this because their digestive systems are not as robust and developed as adults’, but adults can also experience this energy disharmony, too.
Cold invading the Stomach can happen anytime of the year, but it’s more likely to occur during the winter because it’s really cold outside. A person could also experience this disharmony during the spring or fall on a cold wet day, or even in the summer if they’re exposed to the cold chill from an overactive air conditioner.
Symptoms of cold invading the Stomach include the sudden onset of stomach pain, chills, and vomiting of clear fluids. This is exactly what my son experienced. He was fine at dinnertime, and then bam, his stomach started hurting and he was throwing up watery vomit. He also complained of dizziness. The cold invasion was causing tension and pain, and also interfering with his body’s ability to clear out excess fluid.
Think of the excess fluid as a type of “phlegm” in the body—sort of like what you’d get with a runny nose—only this “phlegm” causes congestion in the body’s energy meridians. It blocks the meridians that travel up to the head and around the ears, so the dizziness is caused by energy blocks in the meridians around the inner ear.
Important Notes About Reflexology for Kids
1. Recommended Ages
Chinese Reflexology can be practiced on children as young as two, but it is not recommended for children under two years of age. That’s because their energy meridian systems are not yet “wired up” the same way as adults so the reflexology will not be very effective. For younger children, rub more lightly. Directions are noted for each point.
2. Take Your Child to the Doctor
It’s amazing how quickly children respond to the energy healing of reflexology. However, reflexology should NOT be used as a substitute for proper medical advice and treatment. Children’s symptoms can change so rapidly (from bad to good, but also good to bad) that it’s important that your child receives proper medical assistance. Use the reflexology as a complementary tool in addition to your regular treatment. Energy balancing supports the body’s natural healing processes, but there are times when medical intervention is necessary, so check with your doctor.
3. Know Yourself First
I highly recommend that you practice Chinese reflexology regularly on yourself before you even try to rub your kid’s feet. It helps to understand how these points feel on yourself, and also builds up your confidence in rubbing your child’s feet. My book Sole Guidance, is a brilliant and fun way to learn how to practice at home.
4. Listen to Your Child – More Is NOT More
Many parents who have never rubbed their kids’ feet suddenly go overboard when they learn about Chinese Reflexology. They then try to rub their children’s feet all the time as much as possible, and way more than the recommended guidelines. Hmm, people do this on themselves too. Please don’t over-massage. It doesn’t help.
I give guidelines for recommended times in this article, but if your child is too squirmy and doesn’t want you to rub their feet, then STOP. You might not “win the battle” this time with the stomach flu, but you’ll be able to continue rubbing their feet in the future so that next time, both of you will be better at it.
And more is NOT more. So DO NOT EXCEED the recommended times in this article. The body needs the passage of time to heal, so excessive massage is not going to make things go faster. Restoring balance in the body is about taking a balanced approach to healing.
Okay, that’s about it for notes and precautions for kids. Let’s get to the mini routine!
This mini routine works great to support the body in restoring balance when cold invades the Stomach. The first two points help with stomach pain and vomiting, and the last point is specifically for the dizziness that may accompany the stomach flu. So let’s get to these points to help with stomach aches, vomiting and dizziness.
For a stomach bug, the best point to massage shouldn’t surprise you—it’s the Stomach point! Rubbing this point helps strengthen the qi (energy) in the Stomach meridian to kick the “cold invasion” to the curb. Massaging this point also sends healing qi and blood to the organ to help soothe and harmonize the stomach.
How to Locate the Stomach Reflexology Point
There is a Chinese Reflexology Stomach point on each foot located right below the ball of the foot. Let’s start with your left foot first. Take a look at the sole of the foot and imagine that it’s divided into four quadrants. The Stomach point is in the top left quadrant of the left foot, along the inside edge. On the right sole, the Stomach point is in the top right quadrant next to the inside edge of the foot.
This point is shaped like a gibbous moon (yeah, Google that!), but for this routine, we’ll focus on the top portion of the point, which is about the size of the first joint of your thumb. The point is as high as your thumb is wide, beginning at the inside edge of the foot and going until about three quarters of the width of the top inside quadrant. That would be close to the length of your thumb from the base of the first knuckle to the tip of the thumb.
Place your left thumb underneath the ball of your foot so that it is parallel to the bottom of the ball and angled slightly upwards. Line up the base of the thumb knuckle with the inside edge of the foot. The area covered by your thumb gives you a good approximation of where to massage.
How to Massage the Chinese Reflexology Stomach Point
Use your thumb pad to massage the Stomach reflexology point in an up and down motion, where up is towards the toe tips and down is towards the heel. For a Stomach bug, I would recommend massaging this point with your thumb for 30 seconds on each foot.
If you’re practicing on a child, use a firm pressure, but not too hard—like what you’d use to scrub permanent marker off their foot. This applies for kids five and up. For yourself, you can press slightly harder, and for younger children (2 to 4 years), use the pressure you’d use to rub some crumbs off their face. Please also note that thumb measurements are for your child’s thumb, not yours.
Chinese Medicine considers the Spleen to be one of the most vital organs for healthy digestion. The Spleen works together with the Stomach to digest food. This organ and energy meridian also play a critical role in helping to clear excess phlegm and mucus from the body—so the Spleen reflexology point also helps with dizziness by clearing away the blocks caused by internal “phlegm”.
How to Locate the Spleen Reflexology Point
WARNING: If you are pregnant or have a heart condition, you should NOT try massaging your Spleen point.
If you are pregnant, do not try to massage your Spleen point because if you don’t locate it correctly, you could accidentally massage the acupressure point Kidney 1 which is sometimes used in acupuncture to induce labour.
The Spleen reflexology point is only on the left foot. It’s located in the top right quadrant of the sole. When you imagine the four quadrants on your foot, make sure that the horizontal line dividing your foot in half is dividing the entire foot including the toes. The line should divide your foot in half from the tip of the big toe to the base of your heel. The Spleen point is located in the top right quadrant of the sole just above this horizontal halfway line. The point is just a wee bit wider than your thumb, but if you have wide feet, the point will be a little bit wider.
To locate the Spleen point, press your thumb just above the horizontal halfway line in the middle (width-wise) of the top right quadrant. Your thumb should be in line with your “ring” toe (second last toe next to the baby toe) and just above the halfway line—not any higher. This will give you a good approximation of where the Spleen point is located. For kids, remember to use their thumb-width to gauge the size of the point.
How to Massage the Chinese Reflexology Spleen Point
To massage the Chinese Reflexology Spleen point, use your thumb pad to rub the point in an up and down motion, where up is towards your toes and down is towards your heel. Massage this point for 30 seconds on the left sole. Use the same pressure as described for the Stomach point.
The inner ear point helps clear the energy blocks in the meridians around the ears. This helps with dizziness because the energy congestion affects the smooth flow of qi around the inner ear, and this is what is disturbing the body’s sense of balance and equilibrium.
How to Locate the Inner Ear Reflexology Point
The inner ear point is super easy to find. It’s a small oval located on the top of the foot in the tip of the webbing between the fourth toe and baby toe. Since you have two ears—a right and a left—you also have an inner ear point on each foot.
How to Massage the Chinese Reflexology Inner Ear Point
To massage the inner ear reflexology point, use the knuckle of your index finger to press and twist into the tip of the webbing. Since your knuckle is harder than your thumb pad, use a lighter pressure than what you used for the Stomach and Spleen points. When you feel dizzy due to a stomach bug or common cold, the inner ear point will feel extra-sensitive.
So press hard enough to feel it, but not so hard that it is painful. For children, use a lighter pressure because this point will likely feel sensitive for them if they are experiencing dizziness. Think of the pressure you might use to press into your dimples if you were making a funny clown face, or what you would use to make a thumbprint in a ball of Play-doh. Massage the point on both feet for 30 seconds each.
To support the body in recovering from stomach flu, use Chinese Reflexology as a complementary addition to what you normally would do.
Practice the following points after vomiting, up to four times a day:
If the vomiting has stopped, continue practicing these points four times a day, but practice the mini routine at different times during the day (e.g. morning, noon, late afternoon, evening). Massage at least one hour before or after you eat. And you can stop massaging the points when the illness has passed.
Do NOT exceed the recommended times. Massaging more does not make the flu go away quicker as the body still needs the physical passage of time to heal. Over-massaging the points can trigger the release of long-held toxins in the digestive system, and when you’re ill, this is not the time for a cleanse. If you or your child’s condition does not improve, please see your doctor.
An Ounce of Prevention…
Ideally, you should practice Chinese Reflexology regularly BEFORE you get sick. Think of the reflexology like a tool. If a tree fell on your house and you needed to clear it away, wouldn’t it be better if you knew how to use a chainsaw before you started cutting?
Similarly, it’s better to be familiar with massaging your reflexology points before you need to use them. When you feel calm and confident, you’re much more useful to yourself and your kids. Plus, practicing Chinese Reflexology regularly helps strengthen and balance your body’s energy meridians, making it less likely for you to get sick.
If you’d like to learn more, I would highly recommend starting with my book, Sole Guidance: Ancient Secrets of Chinese Reflexology to Heal the Body, Mind, Heart, and Spirit. It’s a fun and easy way to learn how to practice Chinese Reflexology at home. And if you’d like to study in more depth, I offer two online programs for you to learn Chinese Reflexology while being fully supported and guided along the way.
Learning how to practice Chinese Reflexology is a wonderful gift that you can give yourself and your family. There have been countless times when my child was sick at 3am in the morning, and I’ve been so thankful that I know Chinese Reflexology. Reflexology helps you be proactive about your health and that of your family’s. I hope you’re feeling healthy and are reading this article out of curiosity. If so, you might want to bookmark this webpage so that you’ll have it handy if the stomach flu does strike. And if you or your child are sick and vomiting right now, I hope you’re feeling better soon!