Welcome to the role of pediatric massage therapy in every day life. Addressing a broad spectrum of needs from sensory development to calming your child's tummy ache or headache, to even calming an overstimulated child. See where massage therapy can fit into your life.
Pediatric massage is suitable for most children. Typical children in a traditional setting to those battling illness, massage therapy can be integrated to enhance health and wellness to comfort in times of distress. Click the link above or Liddle Kidz Foundation to be taken to their website for a wealth of information on pediatric massage. I encourage everyone to look at the research for a complete understanding of what pediatric massage is.
Dr. Tiffany Field's Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami, found the following areas to be improved with massage therapy:
- Decrease in aggressive behavior
- Decrease in ADHD behavior of hyperactivity, daydreaming, and anxiety
- Decrease in anxiety and depression
- Lower cortisol levels
- Less symptoms of dermatitis
- Better sleep patterns
- Reduction of pain and tension
- Improved immune function
- Improved gastro-intestinal functioning
- Better breathing patterns
- Enhanced body image
- Better focus and attention span
- Increased parent-child bonding
Whether your child is 2 years old or 16, they are constantly in a state of developing at their own unique pace and process. Therapeutic pediatric massage can support that process, help with delays and allow the ideal progression specific to each child to unfold. It may alleviate growing pains, correct muscular imbalances, aid in preventing scoliosis or other structural imbalances, help with motor skills and proprioception as well as emotional and cognitive development.
Most of our adult problems can be traced back to our childhood. Those crucial years of development set us up for the rest of our lives. Yet, when it comes to physical injuries, we often believe that kids just "bounce back" and recover on their own because of the amazing regenerative powers of the young body. However, the muscular regeneration often occurs around a structural imbalance, strengthening it and setting the body up for problems further down the road. If a child has broken a bone, had a bad fall, been in an accident or been immobilized, it is very important to make sure that the muscles are healing properly around the injury site, and that the rest of the body isn't developing a compensation pattern.
- also often have post traumatic symptoms after an accident or medical procedures. Massage can help the body release those subconscious responses and relearn the feeling of safety and relaxation.
Emotional and Psychological Health
Many children struggle with anxieties, stress, insecurities, depression and trauma that affect their ability to be happy, sleep well, have good digestion and stool, breathe deeply, and relax. Some have had harmful experiences with touch that have affected their relationships with caretakers and affected their comprehension of what is safe and appropriate touch. Spending safe time with their parent and a professional can help teach and reinforce those boundaries and give them control of their experience. Having a time and space to receive quiet, nurturing touch can help them let go of their stressors and defense mechanisms and allow the healthy processes of the body to return to normal.
Children with Special Needs
There have been many proven benefits to massage for children with special needs. For children with autism, massage can decrease touch aversion, off task behaviors, and orienting to irrelevant sounds. For cerebral palsy, children experienced reduced spasticity, less rigid muscle tone overall, improved fine and gross motor functioning, improved cognition and positive facial expressions. Children with cystic fibrosis were reported to feel less anxious and have improvements in mood and peak air flow readings. Young children with Down Syndrome showed improvements in fine and gross motor functioning and less severe limb hypotonicity.