Benefits of massage therapy for children

Benefits of massage therapy for children

Massage therapy is not only beneficial for adults, but also for children. Caught between play, school, sports, and countless demands, children have a good deal of stress, which raises blood pressure, lessens the immune defense, and can contribute to problems such as childhood obesity. Prolonged sitting in school throughout most of the year – not to mention carrying those heavy backpacks to and from school – can cause strain on their bodies. And even during the summer, when they are able to move more and carry less, they are often involved in sports and camps that can increase their risk of injury.

Children that participate in organized sports are more susceptible to injury because their bones are still growing and muscles are still developing. As a result children tend to suffer many acute and overuse injuries.

Acute injuries occur suddenly and are usually associated with some form of trauma. In younger children, acute injuries typically include minor bruises, sprains, and strains. For example, a hamstring or calf strain in a child that plays soccer or baseball.

Overuse injuries are also common in children that play the same sport all the time. Overuse injuries occur from repetitive actions that put too much stress on the bones and muscles. Although these injuries can occur in adults as well, they are more problematic in a child athlete because of the effect they may have on bone growth.

A common type of overuse injury is anterior knee pain. Anterior knee pain is pain in the front of the knee under the kneecap. The knee will typically be sore and swollen due to tendon or cartilage inflammation. The cause is usually muscle tightness in the hamstrings or quadriceps, the major muscle groups around the thigh.

It’s important to get overuse injuries diagnosed and treated to prevent them from developing into larger chronic problems. Our chiropractors at YOUR HEALTH Wellness Centre are very experienced at diagnosing all kinds of sport injuries, including children’s sports injuries. After the injuries are properly diagnosed, our massage therapists work closely as part of the health team to determine the best treatment plan for the injury. This would include massage therapy to decrease the muscle tension in the affected muscles above or below the injury, for example in the hamstrings or quadriceps as mentioned above.

For children, a typical massage would generally include simple, light to moderate-pressure strokes to the child’s head/neck, arms, torso, legs, and back, according to the specific areas of concern. Dividing the time between these areas will address the full body in a 30 minute treatment.

By adding massage to your child’s routine, you are helping to calm their nervous system, increase mental alertness, and improve their sleep. The added benefits include improved ability to do school work, interact with peers and teachers, as well as an improved mood.