Calming the hyperactive

Veronica Tift elaborates why reflexology has a place in working with hyperactive children or adults on medication or not.

As kids we used to have to entertain my hyperactive brother. My mom would insist on my sister and I being outside and making sure we ran around all day with him. Looking back, I think she was trying to tire my ADHD brother out so that he would be able to sit at the dinner table. This strategy seldom worked.

When we were kids, we never realised that there was ever anything wrong with my brother. It was only when he struggled in school, attended extra lessons and went for test after test, did we become aware that he had a problem. To us he was our excited little brother who kept us on our toes always coming up with the best games.

I then married a man with ADHD and he couldn’t even sit still long enough to read this article to the end (he did try to his credit). I guess that’s why when I read the overview for ADHD, I felt a little sad, referring to it as a condition that can’t be cured.

The condition includes difficulty with hyperactivity and impulsiveness. These can contribute to low self-esteem, troubled relationships and difficulty at school or work. While these things might all be true, it’s a simplistic way of describing a condition that is extremely complicated and unique to each individual and their circumstances.

To medicate or not?

The pressure to fit into this society and education institutes makes medication not only necessary but also a blessing for many children or adults. The many friends and family that have taken medication for ADHD have had different reason for taking it, different side effects and experiences about how it affects them.

The decision to put your child on medication if diagnosed with ADHD is deeply personal and dependent on your circumstances, the environment of the child and the child themselves.

As a reflexologist working in holistic healing, I always encourage clients to try the natural route first. As an aunt, cousin, sister and wife of family struggling with ADHD I would say, do what works for you and your family.

ADHD presents its self, differently for many people, so what works for one might not work for everyone. Don’t be afraid to try a combination of different therapy’s until you find the one that works for your child and yourself.


Stimulants are the most common types of prescribed medication for ADHD (methylphenidate or amphetamine). These are equally effective and also seem to carry the same risk. There is either short-acting formulation or a longer-acting, depending on your needs and the child.

The most common side effect according to The Child Mind Institute, is loss of appetite. This can be a scary side effect for parents, especially if your child starts to lose weight and used to be a good eater. Sleeping problems like difficulty falling asleep seems to effect younger children more. Depression can be another worrying side effect.

Working with a reflexologist

Important points that a reflexologist will work on to assist the body with ADHD medication and even symptoms of ADHD will be the solar plexus, digestive reflexes, pineal glands, the endocrine system, the brain and spinal reflexes.

By working on the digestive reflex, it helps stimulate the digestive system, which can possibly assist with the lack of appetite. The solar plexus is a calming and relaxing reflex point helping with insomnia and stress.

The reason we focus on the endocrine system is to help coordinate the body functions like growth, development and general wellness of the body.

Working the brain reflex and spinal reflexes, reflexology can encourage the body to deal with stress, encouraging the release of endorphins among other benefits.

Parents are sometimes worried that their child won’t be able to sit still during a treatment, chat to a therapist beforehand if this concerns you. A light gentle treatment is recommended for children and treatments should be adjusted according to the child.

The amazing thing about reflexology is how quickly most kids responds to regular treatments. The parent or guardian is always in the room and conformed consent is mandatory. Often, I give parents a few techniques to do at home; it’s always special how a child responds to a loving parents touch.

There definitely isn’t a cure for ADHD and while reflexology doesn’t claim to be the answer, it can absolutely be considered as a tool and has a place in working with hyperactive children or adults on medication or not.

References – complete guide to ADHD medication

The complete guide to reflexology – 2nd edition Ruth Hull

The complete idiots guide to Reflexology – Frankie Avalon Wolfe, Ph.D, Alpha books


Veronica Tift is a therapeutic reflexologist, registered with the AHPCSA, based in Benoni. She continues to grow her knowledge through attending international and local courses on various subjects related to reflexology. Veronica has a special interest in working with couples struggling with infertility.

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