Pediatric Massage, its Benefits and Considerations to Keep in Mind

When thinking about massage therapy, one may think that only adults get massages. However, little kids can also get massages, if the need arises. You might wonder how the need for a massage would arise in a young person.

The fact is that any child who has undergone trauma or suffered an injury which has led to pain and discomfort can get a massage to help alleviate the symptoms. Kids don’t take well to discomfort and are likely to get cranky and difficult to handle. In this situation, it would be difficult for their parents, and even the medical staff attending them, to comprehend their needs and provide the right solution.

Pediatric massage is about more than just helping children deal with the symptoms of the conditions they are suffering. The therapy can help children combat loneliness and fear, as well as the anxiety they face in the aftermath of medical treatments.

This way, massage therapists can help the children deal with the emotional trauma of the circumstances, while taking care of the physical problems they are going through. Pediatric massage therapy can not only help children live comfortably, but may also help cure certain medical conditions.

A great example of this is the effect the massage had on some children suffering from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Their anxiety vanished and their stress hormones got under control after they underwent massage therapy.

Moreover, young children suffering from autism can also be treated through pediatric massage therapy. Their mental condition could improve and they may be able to concentrate better. Also, any children suffering from breathing related disorders may experience improvement in their breathing pattern.

Needless to say, performing a massage on a child poses different challenges for the massage therapist. You have to keep in mind the need of the child the massage is being performed on. For one, the pressure applied on the body of children has to be moderate as compared to the normal massage.

If you are looking to work with pediatric patients you should continue receiving training and education in the field. That is the only way they would be able to perform pediatric massages in the best way possible.

The Numerous Benefits of Pediatric Massage

Even though pediatric massage is widely offered, there are many people who aren’t aware of its many benefits. Let’s go over some of the biggest benefits of pediatric massage therapy:

  • Reduces anxiety which helps the young ones deal with the stressful situations in a better way.
  • Reduces pain and discomfort they are suffering because of injury or any other medical condition.
  • Improves their self-esteem and confidence because their muscles get toned.
  • Releases the stress children may be facing because of their health problems.
  • Provides a sense of better health and wellbeing.

Along with this, you could also advise children on taking better care of their bodies. This is something the children could benefit from in the long run as they would know the importance of being healthy, and about taking the necessary steps to prevent health ailments.

Considerations to be Made When Giving a Pediatric Massage

There is no doubt that there are many benefits of pediatric massage. However, this doesn’t mean that any massage therapist can perform massage on a child. Most significantly, you have to understand that it would be difficult to convince a child to get a massage.

The patient has to lie still and relax while the massage is being performed. This is only possible if the child cooperates on every step of the way for which some steps need to be taken. Here are some considerations to be made:

  • First and foremost, the child’s permission should be obtained before the massage begins. This is a mistake massage therapists often make. The parents and the therapist often force the child to get into position for the massage. There is a good chance that the child would say ‘no’ to the massage but, that is better than not asking him/her. In addition to the child’s permission, you also need to obtain the permission of the doctor and the medical team treating the child.
  • The massage therapy session for a child should be shorter than for an adult. The maximum length of the session should be 20 minutes. Children have a short attention span and don’t appreciate being touched too much and that too by a stranger, for a considerable length of time. Any shortcomings can be made up for by giving the child multiple massages a day.
  • You need to determine how much pressure is to be applied on different parts of the body of the child for the treatment to work. This is where your expertise and knowledge of pediatric massage therapy comes to the fore. This is also one reason why establishing trust with the child is important. If you are rough with the child and he/she resists, there is a chance the child would get cranky and irritated, in which case performing the massage is next to impossible.
  • You need to have the parents of the children present while you perform the massage. This assures the child that he/she is in a safe environment. Moreover, you also need to brief the parents on some basic massage techniques that they can use at home to perform massage on their child.
  • Last, but not the least, you have to be careful about positioning the child in the proper way. This is particularly important if the patient you are performing the massage on is confined to a wheelchair or has limited mobility for any other reason. In this case, you have to determine the right position for the massage to work. The position would vary from patient to patient.

These are some things you need to consider before performing a pediatric massage. This could ensure the child is cooperative during the massage and there is no resistance on his/her part.

Overall, pediatric massage therapy is among the most specialized of all massage fields. Pediatric massage therapists have to constantly train and update their skills so that they can perform these types of massages in the most effective way.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Types of Massage Techniques
8 comments on “Pediatric Massage, its Benefits and Considerations to Keep in Mind
  1. Yalir says:

    I am a licenced masage theroay looking to be a pedriatric therapy .

  2. Dinah Marshall says:

    I am also looking to be licensed in pediatric massage therapy.

  3. Karen O'Neil says:

    I would highly recommend any healthcare provider, massage therapist, nurse, physician, occupational therapist or physical therapist who wishes to add comprehensive pediatric massage therapy to their professional background to view the work of the Liddle Kidz Foundation.

    Founder and Director, Tina Allen, is considered the leading expert in the field of infant and pediatric massage therapy and offer certification courses internationally.

  4. Shauna Reigh says:

    I am referencing your article while working on my final presentation for class, we graduate in one month. Do you have any pdf file brochures or pamphlets that I may distribute to the other students. I look forward to learning as much as I can to hopefully bring pediatric massage to a reality in Pittsburgh

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