Once upon a time in a land not so far away, in the very family and household I belong to, we experienced a night that was anything but a fairy tale. Bedtime went as usual, but not long before I settled in for a restful night’s sleep a cry arose from the far bedroom and the wailing grew as the tiny footsteps crept closer. The hair on my neck tingled as I knew what lay just over the threshold.
The green eyed glowing monster outside my bedroom door? Foot aches. My husband had them as did his mom before him, and so do three of our five children.
It seems each family has its own chronic health issues related to children. Some battle ear infections, some struggle with allergies, others have even more serious challenges in regards to their health. Our challenge attacks mostly at nights.
Poor little Brooke has faced more than her fair share of this plague and would wake me five to six nights a week when in the midst of a growth spurt. We knew the drill, and as the sobbing continued, I armed myself for a counteroffensive.
First, quick dose of children’s Motrin for long lasting impact.
Second, foot massage.
Third, heating pad in microwave to sooth for an hour or so until the Motrin kicked in.
Finally, a prayer and more rubbing until she fell asleep, hopefully for the night, but usually just for 5-6 hours until we did it all again.
This is what we did almost every night. The doctor said it fell into the normal range of things and didn’t give any other recommendations. She didn’t get aches as a result of physical activity or any other regular trigger, so they just fell into the category of growing pains and did not receive any further diagnosis.
As I reached frequently for the medicine bottle I began to read the warnings more often and realizing that I really did not want to keep giving this precious little girl these unpredictable medicines. Liver damage, bleeding stomachs, drug interactions, long term side effects. Hmmm, there must be a better way.
As we started desiring our family to adopt more healthy habits, this issue of foot aches kept coming back to me. Brooke was always a healthy eater. She can plow her way through the vegetable tray at a party or meal like nobody else. She has a healthy, balanced appetite and increasing bananas (potassium -- sometimes a lack of which has been blamed for aches) didn’t help any.
A friend of mine steered me toward the internet and seeking more natural alternatives. I was eager to find something that would alleviate her almost nightly dependence on OTC medication, and hopefully get us all some more sleep as well.
As a result of some research I started rubbing some oil on her feet at bedtime. I used a base of almond oil with a few drops of concentrated Rosewood, Roman Chamomile, and Lavender. We had 5 straight weeks without one night time awakening. The winds of change blew through our house. Now, when illness and aches crop up I look first to the oils and see what we can mix up to cure or sooth whatever we face.
We do still see the green-eyed, foot-ache monster at our door occasionally, but usually it comes when I have fallen out of practice of putting the oil on at night, lulled into complacency by too many smooth nights. My 11 year old son still gets aches now and then and he will go to the oil first now and no longer takes Tylenol.
I have much yet to learn in this large area of ‘alternative’ treatments, but I enjoy using treatments that come more directly from God’s creation than some pharmaceutical conglomerate. Now we are often able to sleep, happily every after . . .