Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project
The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese
The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA
On January 31st, 2017, at “Wakuwaku Hiroba” (“Hustle Square”) at St. Paul’s Kindergarten, the No Nuke Project held “Yoga and Massage for Mothers and Babies,” targeted at one-year-olds. The instructor was Ms. Yoshie Hatakeyama.
First, each mother sat on the floor and held her baby on her lap. As the instructor sang a song, each mother “rocked” her baby, moving forward and then backward, or sometimes standing up with the baby in her arms. Both the mothers and the babies seemed very happy as they relaxed together. Then they enjoyed playing with colorful cloths.
Next came the massage. To begin with, the children had a patch test to confirm that the aromatic oil used in the massage (named “almond sweet”) would not cause an allergic reaction. Then, using a doll, the instructor demonstrated how to effectively massage the children’s calves, knees, belly, chest, back, and soles. (The soles were massaged without oil, as applying oil to the feet could result in slipping.)
A belly massage improves digestion, while massaging the chest enables deeper breaths. Such massages are especially effective if done just before going to bed. (If your baby is ticklish, just opening and closing his/her arms is effective too.)
To conclude, the mothers listened to Yoshie’s stories, drawn from her own child raising experience, and they asked her questions while they enjoyed herbal tea blended by the instructor. The mothers and their babies all had a very relaxing time.
One thing to keep in mind during winter on the Pacific side of Japan: the atmosphere is very dry. So, it is a good idea to apply a moisturizer to the skin after a shower. This will help prevent skin allergies.
Every childcare story Yoshie told revealed her deep affection for kids, and was very helpful and practical to the mothers.
I, Izumi Koshiyama, experienced child raising many years ago, yet the yoga and massage were a delight to me as well.