Is Massage Therapy Kid Friendly?
A common misconception is that massage therapy is unnecessary and insignificant to a child’s development. On the contrary, it provides numerous benefits for children with certain health conditions or those looking to improve performance at school and in extracurricular activities. Read on to learn about the benefits of massage therapy for children, how it differs from standard massage therapy, and how to introduce it to your child at home.
Top Benefits of Massage Therapy for Children
Is your child an athlete or musician? Does your child struggle with stress, anxiety, or depression? You’re in luck! Here are four ways massage therapy can help children live and perform better.
1. Stimulates Growth and Development
Massage therapy has been used for years to aid the development of premature infants; however, it can also help older children grow and develop as well. Touch helps develop a child’s senses and improve their feelings of acceptance and safety.
2. Reduces Stress and Anxiety
During a massage, the body releases dopamine while decreasing cortisol. As a result, children who receive regular massages are more likely to feel less stressed and anxious at school.
3. Helps Manage ADHD
ADHD is a common childhood disorder, and massage therapy can be beneficial for parents looking for a natural solution to help manage it. Studies suggest that massage therapy can improve mood, increase focus and decrease fidgeting in children with ADHD.
4. Increases Sleep Quality
Feelings of relaxation are an expected side effect of getting a massage. Many children report that the added peace and calm helps increase their sleep quality and gives them more energy to concentrate at school and in extracurricular activities
How Massage Therapy for Children Works
Performing a massage on a child is not the same as performing one on an adult. A massage therapist will follow the “Five P’s” when providing a child with a pediatric massage: Permission, Pace, Pressure, Positioning, and Parents.
Permission: A therapist will always ask the child if they are willing to be touched and receive a massage. The therapist will stop if your child isn’t ready or becomes tense during the massage.
Pace: While adults may relish an hour-long massage, children will not. Most therapists will provide children with a massage that lasts between 15 to 20 minutes.
Pressure: That deep tissue might feel great to you, but it’s much too strong for most children. Children will guide the massage therapist on what feels comfortable to find the correct pressure.
Positioning: Typically, children will be fully clothed when getting a massage, which lets the therapist try a variety of positions to find the one that works best for your child.
Parents: A massage therapist will talk to you about your child’s needs, answer any questions you may have, teach you simple techniques to try at home, and explain why they recommend or perform a specific movement.
Most massage practices will require you to sign a consent form, and the therapist will outline their plan for your child and require that you stay in the room at all times. Depending on availability, the therapist will also likely be of the same sex. Finally, remember that working with children can be difficult, and many practices may not accept any underage clients.
Introduce Your Child to Massage Therapy at Home
Most children will have experienced some form of massage as an infant, but we tend to stop once they become toddlers. Parents interested in their child attending massage therapy appointments should consider massaging their children at home to help get them used to the sensation. Gently focus on the arms, hands, fingers, legs, toes, and back for up to 15 minutes a couple of times a week.
Ready to Book Your Kid an Appointment? Use MassageBook
Children are ideal candidates for massage therapy. From reducing stress to managing ADHD, massage therapy for children can be extremely beneficial. While pediatric massage is quite different from standard massage, it still allows children the chance to relax and calm down. Parents considering professional massage therapy should start massaging at home several times a week to get the child used to that form of touch.
With MassageBook, finding a qualified massage therapist for your child is easier than ever. Read reviews for licensed and trained professional massage therapists in your area to find the right fit for your child. Once you find a great fit, you can book an appointment in just a few clicks. As a bonus, we’ll provide you with appointment reminders so your child can stick to their massage schedule.