A common question all parents ask is, “Can their children benefit from massage therapy and is a massage for kids suitable for their health? Each time, I give them a big YES!
The sense of touch is a fundamental human need. It is one of the first senses that a newborn develops. Whether cuddling newborns or comforting elderly parents, the importance of touch defines and nourishes human life.
Lack of contact with other humans can lead to developmental delays in babies. An animal study has demonstrated that deprivation of maternal tactile input in newborns can slow their development, resulting in reduced growth, weak immunity and other problems. Human babies are no different. They also need to be touched, stroked and cuddled to reach their full growth potential.
Read below to find out why even children need a massage and discover the five health benefits of regular child massage.
Why Do Children Need A Massage?
In today’s fast-paced and hectic lifestyle, children face multiple stressors related to school, peer pressure, and family pressure. Besides, the excessive use of devices increases stress and body aches ( due to sitting or lying in the same position). Similarly, competitive sports activities and daily life chores can trigger minor injuries that lead to pain and discomfort. This leads to sleep disturbances in children.
Children seldom get the opportunity or time to rest and relax. In such cases, massage therapy is an excellent treatment for kids to relieve their stress and enjoy their lives to their fullest.
5 Health Benefits Of Massage For Kids
Massage for kids of any age group, be it infants, toddlers, or children, can bestow a plethora of physical and mental well-being. General health benefits like muscle relaxation, decreased muscle tension, and increased mobility can be applied to all age groups. However, massage can also offer many other benefits, specifically to children.
1. Promotes Growth And Development
Sensory and psychological inputs are crucial for the early development and well-being of newborns and infants. Massage for kids can provide tactile inputs stimulating their growth and development.
A 2004 study found that massage can promote the development and weight gain in preterm babies and prevent other growth complications.
2. Can Keep Your Kid Happy
Children’s massage is an effective therapy for relieving anxiety and reducing stress, which helps lower cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that puts your child’s body in a state of fight or flight. Since massage inhibits cortisol release, your child’s mood automatically improves after a good massage session.
According to a 2020 study, massage therapy reduces the production of stress hormones in adults and children.
According to a 2004 study, massage therapy can increase dopamine and serotonin in the body.
Thus, massage for children increases the dopamine level in the blood. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes your child happy and fulfilled. Regular massage sessions can make your children happy and balanced.
Massage therapy also promotes serotonin synthesis- a natural antidepressant in the body. High levels of serotonin help children live healthy and cheerful lives.
These effects of massage therapy help reduce anxiety and tension caused by school, social and environmental stress in children.
3. Improved Academic Performance
Anxiety and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders (ADHD) are among the most common causes of low concentration in children. Apart from the proven results for stress relaxation, massage therapy is also useful in managing children with ADHD.
According to a 2003 study, children with ADHD who received massage therapy felt more satisfied and confident in their skin. Their teachers also noted significant improvements in solving various tasks. Besides, the children’s parents reported substantial improvements in their behaviour.
4. Enhanced Sleep Quality
Sleep is crucial for a child’s growth and development. However, nowadays, a large majority of children suffer from sleep deprivation. According to a 2015 study, nearly 40% of children in the United States do not get enough sleep or have difficulty falling asleep (insomnia).
Massage therapy helps children improve their sleep quality by stabilizing sleep hormone levels. Before-bed massage may provide your child with a peaceful night’s sleep. Sleep is essential for the body to function optimally, as it gives your child more energy and concentration.
In a 2016 study, researchers found that infants who received massage for six weeks enjoyed a significantly better sleep quality than infants who did not receive massage therapy.
5. Improves Immune System
The immune system is a natural shield that protects your child against germs and foreign pathogens. A healthy immune system also prevents the development of chronic diseases.
But chronic stress (as today’s children face it) can weaken their immune system. A weakened immune system cannot fight off germs and often gets sick with fever, flu and other illnesses. As I mentioned earlier, massage therapy relieves stress in children by eliminating its adverse effects on your child’s immune system.
According to a 2012 study of 120 premature infants, a massage intervention can boost the functionality and germ-fighting capacity of NK immune cells. Infants were divided into two groups. One group (58 infants) received massage therapy for five consecutive days, and the other group (62 infants) didn’t receive any message at all. At the end of the study, infants who received regular massage showed significant immune system function improvements.
By boosting their immunity, massage can also help children suffering from type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dermatitis, etc. Thus, massage can significantly improve your child’s ability to cope with these chronic illnesses sufficiently and adequately.
Massage Therapists For Kids
In today’s hectic and active lifestyle, where parents spend less and less time with their children and massages, masseuses and massage therapists are a godsend. A professional massage therapist can help your child with a massage tailored to his or her needs. A massage therapy session for your kid offers the best return on investment in terms of improving your child’s quality and joy of life.
The benefits of massage are enormous for your kids’ physical and mental health. It promotes their growth and development, makes them happy and cheerful, improves their academic performance, enhances sleep quality, and strengthens their immune system. A professional massage therapist can provide the best massage services for your kid based on their individual needs.