Hands to Heal Massage Therapy - Children's Massage Therapy
Massage can be truly healing for a child. It is more beneficial to heal as you go rather than to wait until the body is screaming for help. The essence of massage for children is providing safe and loving touch that encourages a positive experience in the body and that nurtures healthy relationships. It can be a wonderful method for enhancing close relationships in the family and can support children in developing a deep personal sense of connection to their bodies and themselves.
Children at each stage of growth and development have different physical, emotional, and psychological needs. Physiologically, children’s bodies differ from adults in significant ways. In children, the nervous system develops progressively and is somewhat predictive by age. For this reason, massage therapists working with children need to practice ongoing communication so they can best understand the sensations that children are feeling. Open communication is a key element of massaging children.
Gentle loving touch helps to support respectful and non-violent communication in the family. Siblings learn to find more positive ways of engaging with one another when using massage and storytelling. Parents often find that after massage is introduced they find their children are less aggressive toward one another and that the home becomes more peaceful. Once children learn that they can express themselves in this way, a new opportunity for nonverbal communication is established.
One of the significant social impacts of massage for children and young adults is that is helps to establish a sense of personal boundaries and an awareness of the types of touch that do and do not feel good. Appropriate and respectful massage supports children in learning at a very young age about ‘good touch’ and forming a positive body image. This knowledge can serve them well in their future relationships.
Important Considerations When Massaging Children:
- Verbal and non-verbal communication significantly impact whether children and adolescents feel safe and enjoy the massage.
- For very young children, maintaining close proximity to the parent can minimize tension.
- When possible, clearly establishing a positive relationship with the parent can help the child to relax. This might include shaking the parent’s hand, smiling warmly, or demonstrating a simple massage stroke for the child on the parent’s hand.
- It is necessary to explain massage in age appropriate ways. Not all children will know the word massage and different words can be substituted when working with young children.
- Letting children know that massage should always feel good and that they can stop the massage at any time is important.
- Always asking permission to touch helps children establish a healthy sense of boundaries and self-mastery.
- Storytelling is a wonderful method of communicating with children during massage.
Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions in relation to massage for children.
Children Massaging Children ("CMC") Instructor contact Toni O'Daly.