Note: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes and is not medical advice.
Growing children and teenagers may greatly benefit from receiving massage. Appropriate and safe touch can be a form of communication and pleasure for both parents and their offspring. Children often get tense from stress in their lives, and thrive from both the positive attention given by parents and the relaxing, soothing, and healing effects of massage. The good feeling of massage can also help a child or teen improve his/her self-image: body awareness, self-confidence, and self-esteem.
Because they are physically active people, children sometimes experience falls or sports injuries that can cause them to have muscular discomfort. In fact, many injuries or occurrences of back and neck pain that appear in adulthood are actually the result of falls or injuries sustained in childhood. So listen to your children when they tell you of their aches and pains. You can provide some relief by giving massage to relax and soften tight, knotted, or sore areas.
As a parent, you can also use the opportunity of giving massage to teach children the difference between safe, appropriate touch and unsafe touch, and instruct them how to say no to touch. Be sure that you always respond to them by discontinuing the activity when they say no! Never compel anyone to receive massage if they are not interested.
Choose a warm, quiet, comfortable place. Begin very gently. Start with relaxed, broad hands and easy pressure. You can use massage lotion, oil, or simple body lotion. Use both hands and gradually add a little more pressure, making more specific contact with the palm, the thumbs, and the fingers. Ask you child where the sore spots are and target those areas first. Then if they want you to do more, remember the hands and feet, arms, legs, neck, shoulders, and back.
For muscle problems, gently rub and knead. Pretend that you are kneading bread dough. Lift the muscle, then release back. Make circular movements. Press and rub. Experiment to find what feels good to your child. Massage at home is not so much specific injury treatment as it is to help the child relax and feel loved, which helps the healing immensely! Keep the intensity of discomfort as low as possible. You may find it helpful to converse or joke with your child if there is discomfort.
Appreciation is extended to Suzie Reed, CMT, of Longmont, Colorado for some of the above tips on massaging children.
For more information, Search Amazon.com for books about massaging children.^ Return to Top
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by Jan DeCourtney, CMT