Pediatric massage is the “the manual manipulation of soft tissue intended to promote health and well-being” for children and adolescents. Nurturing touch is essential for helping children develop into well-adjusted adults, and massage offers a great way to provide that touch. Children respond very positively to any form of massage. A therapeutic touch stimulates the body in positive ways to help it grow and develop.
Massage itself is beneficial at any age, but because children and teens are continuously developing, it can be especially helpful for them. Pediatric massage therapy takes into consideration each child’s individual physical development, cognitive development and heath needs.
WHAT PEDIATRIC MASSAGE CAN DO YOUR CHILD(REN)
Pediatric Massage has been shown to improve sleep, minimize stress, reduce growing pains and address structural muscle tone imbalances. It also helps to ease tensions and pain in developing muscles in order to help your children’s motor skills grow. In additional, case studies report the benefits of massage for children include improved concentration, increased focus and decreased aggression. Some researchers even report that children who have received massage therapy for a regular period may show an increased IQ.
Children suffer from physical strain in the same way adults do. Kids endure postural strains every day – they use backpacks to transfer heavy books, they tend to slouch when sitting at school for long periods or playing video games on DS’s, iPad’s and computers. Children also participate in physical sport much more frequently these days (3-5 times a week for some competitive activities like dance, hockey, soccer, etc.) that results in muscle strains and sports injuries. Massage alleviates their painful muscles and joints, provides increased blood flow to improve circulation, reduces muscle imbalances and provides a soothing environment to reduce anxiety and hyperactivity.
STUDIES OF PEDIATRIC MASSAGE
Research has indicated that massage therapy can ease both physical symptoms, as well as emotional discomforts associated with pediatric medical conditions such as asthma, nausea, constipation and chronic muscle aches. Immediately after receiving massage, children with mild to moderate juvenile rheumatoid arthritis notice decreased anxiety and stress hormone (cortisol) levels. For young patients with Autism, their aversion to touch decreases with massage, while their ability to focus increases. Pediatric patients with cystic fibrosis report feeling less anxious and improved breathing and pulmonary functions.
THE NUMEROUS BENEFITS OF PEDIATRIC MASSAGE THERAPY:
- Increased ability to concentrate
- Improved sleep patterns
- Reduced irritability and hyperactivity
- Decreased anxiety
- Pain reduction
- Improved muscle tone
- Enhanced breathing for children with asthma
- Enhanced body image
- Increased bonding and attachment
- Increased self esteem
- Healthy sense of boundaries
- Stress reduction
- Overall sense of well-being
As with adults, the recommended frequency of treatments depends highly on the health needs of the child or teen.
For more severe or acute issues, or if your child is highly active with sports or dance, weekly or bi-weekly treatments could be recommended.
From a proactive standpoint, a monthly visit to address the buildup of tension and “knots” in muscle tissue is highly recommended.
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