Adolescence and exams- are you or your children feeling the strain?

 Adolescence and exams – are you or your children feeling the strain?

If so try these simple hand reflexology self help techniques

Adolescence can be a tricky time for teenagers (and indeed parents as well).  Common concerns frequently expressed include conflicts with parents and siblings, concerns about peer relationships, and perhaps most of all at this time of year concerns about school and not performing well in exams.  Parents may also feel concerned about their child’s behaviour at this time especially if there is rebelliousness, time wasting, mood swings, drug experimentation and issues with school attendance.


These worries are not unfounded, the Office of National Statistics (1) have looked at adolescents and found that:

       10% of teenagers are diagnosed with an emotional disorder

        Number of teenagers on anti-depressants is increasing

       Depression is more likely to occur if high stress levels are present

       Girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression

       Depression in adolescence frequently co-occurs with other disorders:


       disruptive behaviour,

       eating disorders,

       self harming,


Combine this with the way our teenagers are leading their lives (2);

       Exercise – 15 % met the daily recommended physical activity

       Fruit and vegetables – average intake 3 portions per day

       Weight - 37% are overweight or obese

       Smoking - one in five of those aged 16-24 smoke.

       Alcohol - 29% of 15 years olds report drinking in the previous week

       Sleep - A quarter of secondary school children report they

             do not get enough sleep.

Yet it is believed that exercise improves mood, eating regular meals help lower cortisol levels (a stress hormone), and alcohol and smoking can exacerbate the stress cycle.


General recommendations for teenagers are to increase exercise, eat regular meals, eat 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables, build in a regular sleep routine, partake in hobbies and consider meditation/mindfulness or yoga for optimising mental health.  However this is easy to say but not always easy to encourage teenagers to take this advice; as they struggle with teenage emotions, a party may always seems more appealing than a run.


The Association of Reflexologists (AoR) has been promoting the use of hand reflexology as a means of self help and have shared a few techniques for you to try on your own hands or even better still to do on your childs hand; use this time to teach them some of the points so they can work them on their own hands when anxiety and stress builds.

Reflexology works by massaging and stimulating specific points (usually on the feet or as in this case on the hands) called reflex points. These points correspond to different parts of the body.  Reflexologists believe that through working these points or areas, aids relaxation and helps improve wellbeing and can help ease the stresses of modern life. 

Hand reflexology is best carried out for 5 minutes a day (also when we feel pressure building up), find a time when you regularly sit down so it can be built into your daily routine.  If this is something you can do together, use the time to talk to your child, giving them a time every day when they know they have your undivided attention, and opens up a channel for communication

It is easier to carry out hand reflexology using a little cream although it can be done without.  There are also some free videos produced by the AoR (visit  and click on free videos) showing a few simple sequences to help you learn.

Hand Reflexology for exam stress and adolescent tension: 

Perform these moves on both hands:



Next rub along the spine reflex to help calm the nervous system.  Use one thumb to rub along the edge of the other thumb from the wrist all the way to the top, then swap hands



The adrenal gland reflex is particularly good to work for anxiety. This reflex can be found easily by pinching at the base of the ‘V’ at the base of the thumb and first finger.  Place your thumb and finger on the top (dorsal) and bottom (palm) and squeeze gently together.


Finish with solar plexus reflex again.



Where can I find out more about reflexology?

For more information on reflexology have a look at the Association of Reflexologists website.  There are interactive hand and foot maps you can look at, plus YouTube videos on how to carry out hand reflexology and plenty more useful information on Reflexology.

If you feel like trying a full Reflexology treatment, there is a ‘find a reflexologist’ search, where you can put in your postcode to find a well trained and insured reflexologist local to you


  Link to this article:
(Copy and paste the following code to your web page.)

Education Magazine | Advertising | Education Emails - More Articles