Massages are often associate with an older age group. A basic belief is that there are two groups of people who usually partake in massage therapy: those who suffer from aches, pains, injuries and those who enjoy the relaxing benefits of massage. However, these are not the only types of people who can benefit from massage. Everyone can benefit from massage, no matter their age, especially children. Touch is thought to be a basic human need and massage can help positively affect many areas of our children’s lives. Based on findings by the Touch Research Institute, massage has been shown to reduce pain, improve sleep, enhance attentiveness, facilitate weight gain in preterm infants, improve immune function, and reduce stress hormones in the body. Additionally, massage for kids and teens can have positive effects for anxiety, depression, ADHD, autism, posttraumatic stress, and many other disorders. Making the decision to bring your children in for massage is a decision that will greatly benefit your whole family.
Benefits for Infants
For infants, physical contact is shown to significantly affect behavior, social development, and physiology as they grow. Massage for the littlest of clients may be done at home or in clinic. If parents choose to bring their infants in for professional treatment, they are welcome to stay in the room if they would like. The best thing for anyone receiving a massage is to be in a safe and comfortable place so they can fully relax and enjoy all of the benefits of massage. One way to ensure your child is as safe and comfortable as possible is to tell the therapist if your child has any sensitivities to oils or fragrances, as some massage oils may contain nut or seed oils. A fulfilling infant massage can be accomplished in 30-45 minutes. Your baby will likely fall asleep, so planning the session around nap or bedtime is ideal as to not disrupt their sleep routine.
How Massage Can Help Teens
Kids and teens are also great candidates for receiving massage. Again, parents are always welcome to stay in the treatment room in order to create the most relaxing environment possible. Shorter sessions may be fine for smaller or younger kids, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Older children, teens and more active or athletic kids, may benefit most in a session ranging from 45-90 minutes. As always, open communication between you and your massage therapist is key, so feel free to ask your therapist the ideal length of treatment for your child and their specific needs.
Tips for Treatments
If your child has never had a professional massage before it’s a great idea to discuss the upcoming session with them so they have an idea of what to expect. If you have never had a professional massage yourself, you can check out the article on our website titled “Your First Massage-What to Expect.”
Massage is a wonderful tool for taking care of our bodies and minds. You are making a decision for your child which will help teach them the value of their wellness. This early education can be one which they will carry with them into the rest of their lives, setting them up for health and success.