Did you know that children can benefit greatly from massage, too?
It’s true! Touch is a universal healer. Without enough human touch during infancy, children may fail to thrive – and even die. Physical touch is a necessary part of our psychological development and emotional wellbeing.
Massage is a natural stress buster. You think kids don’t have stress? Try spending a day as a toddler who knows exactly what she wants but can’t get the words out right. Or a third grader moving to a new school mid-year. Or the goalie on the state trophy contending soccer team.
Massage is known to lower cortisol stress hormones and raise dopamine levels, combating depression and anxiety. Massage can, therefore also help with other medical conditions affected by stress, such as asthma, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, eczema, and acne. In very young children, massage is a safe way to help settle upset tummies and get things “moving” again down below. Children battling cancer report that regular massage therapy helps reduce the pain and discomfort related to their treatments.
You can start massage at home on a newborn, as long as there are no underlying medical conditions to worry about. Your pediatrician will be able to tell you if massage is safe for your baby. Right after bath time when they are warm and snuggly is a great time to try some simple massage strokes on their arms, legs, and torso. As your child becomes a toddler, try adding in the hands and feet into the massage. Just remember, if your child becomes squirmy or asks you to stop, please do so. Honor your child’s nonverbal cues and spoken requests. Massage should never be something you do “to” you child. It should always be done “with” you child.
As your child becomes a teen, you’ll probably want to start seeing a licensed massage therapist – especially if he or she is very active in sports. A skilled therapist can help your child overcome growing pains, sports injuries, and clear away inflammation due to any number of causes.
Massage therapy is non-invasive and completely safe for most people – no matter how young or old! If you would like to learn more about sharing the healing gifts of massage with your child, please give us a call. We’d be more than happy to answer any of your questions.