Nurturing touch is essential for helping children develop into well-adjusted adults, and massage offers a great way to provide that touch. Massage therapy also provides comfort, relaxation and symptomatic relief from chronic conditions such as asthma, nausea, constipation and chronic muscle aches.
INFANT MASSAGE (0 – 24 months)
Infant massage is an ancient tradition of providing nurturing touch as a way of communicating and bonding with your baby. Massage can help promote a mutual loving trust and understanding between the caregiver and child. Infant massage is composed of a variety of techniques which are used with babies from approximately three weeks of age and may be adapted onward. Parents and caregivers should use nurturing touch with their child as soon as they are born. Infant massage for healthy babies is typically administered by parents and caregivers who have been trained by certified infant massage teachers. RMTs trained in infant massage can teach parents and caregivers to use gentle massage techniques, understand their baby’s individual cues and methods of communication to enhance many physical and developmental benefits.
Clinical research has shown that massaging your baby can aid in their healthy growth and development, may soothe common discomforts like colic and irregular bowel movements, promote restful sleep for the infant (and in turn the caregivers), and can increase healthy attachment and bonding. Evidence has also shown babies who receive massage have increased weight gain, improved immune function and decreased stress hormones. When parents provide massage, their babies may experience optimal neurological function and improved digestion. The benefits achieved with the use of infant massage encourage appropriate emotional, cognitive and physical development.
PEDIATRIC MASSAGE (2 – 18 years of age)
Children need nurturing touch to grow from toddlers to young adults to reach their full potential. Massage has been shown to improve restful sleep, stress reduction, reduce growing pains and address structural muscle tone imbalances. In addition, 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 carry heavy books, they tend to slouch when sitting at school for long periods or playing video games and using computers. Children also participate in physical sport much more frequently these days (3-5 times a week for some competitive activities like dance, sports, 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. Nurturing touch is essential for helping children develop into well-adjusted adults, and massage offers a great way to provide that touch. Massage therapy also provides comfort, relaxation and symptomatic relief from chronic conditions such as asthma, nausea, constipation and chronic muscle aches.
Benefits of Infant/Pediatric massage therapy include:
- Decreased anxiety
- Improves sleeping patterns
- Reduces discomfort from colic, gas, and constipation
- Strengthens digestive, circulatory, and intestinal systems
- Pain reduction
- Improved muscle tone
- Stimulates circulation
- Enhanced breathing for children with asthma
- Increased bonding and attachment
- Improves body awareness
- Stress reduction
- Overall sense of well-being
Research has indicated that massage therapy can ease both physical symptoms, as well as emotional discomforts associated with pediatric medical conditions. 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.
When dealing with children, massage therapists will utilize the following guidelines for pediatric massage: Always ask the child if he/she wants to receive massage. It is important that the child knows they can trust you, and that you will listen to their requests. It is very empowering for a child to have the ability to direct their therapeutic session, and at times even refuse it. Parents are always encouraged to stay in the room and observe how the massage is being conducted with their children and be an active part of the process. Pediatric massage is gentle; there are differences between adult and child bodies. Children have more touch receptors per square inch than adults and their bones are not as solid as adults. Therapists will speak to the child in a more simple manner to encourage greater understanding and build a trusting relationship. The techniques used in the massage sessions and the benefits of massage will be explained in age-appropriate ways.
Massage is a wonderful tool for all families, it is a quiet and gentle way to bond with your infant and foster physical, emotional and cognitive development during their growth from children to young adults. Your child will love it and thank you for it!
57 Dundas Way
Markham, ON L6E 0R7
|Monday||12 pm – 6 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm – 7 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm – 7 pm|
|Friday||12 pm – 6 pm|
|Saturday:||9 am – 3 pm|
Angela Samuels, RMT
57 Dundas Way
Markham, ON L6E 0R7