The holistic benefits of massage therapy are well documented and are not confined to patients of any particular age. The benefits extend to people at any stage of life, regardless of age, occupation or background.
Children undergo stress as well, whether it be from school, family disputes or play time with peers. Too much stress can imbalance the immune system and even onset the early stages of depression. Massage therapy seems to work just as well for any age group, whether they be toddlers, preschoolers or teens. Providing your child with regular massage therapy can help them to develop and grow into a balanced and mature adult. Massage specialists like Adam Harris can cater to all needs and age groups. Read on for a summary of the benefits massage therapy can have for children.
Infant weight gain
Premature babies often have problems with weight gain. A gentle massage can help release a growth hormone that stimulates growth and aids the development of the brain and vital organs. One study by the Department of Neonatology showed that infants who undergo massage gained more weight than infants who went without massage.
Reduces stress and anxiety
Studies have backed up the belief that massage therapy can reduce stress and anxiety and it is no different for children. Massage therapy reduces hormone levels and blood glucose which leads to reduced feelings of stress and anxiety. Reduced feelings of stress not only mean better mental health but also physical thanks to an increased immune system. It’s also been found that massage therapy helps reduce asthma symptoms and help children adhere to sometimes painful diabetic treatment.
Stimulates motor development
Children are constantly developing their motor skills as they grow. With periodic massage treatment, the tension this development causes in the body can be eased and development increased. One study by the university of Miami indicated that massage therapy improved motor function in children with Down syndrome.
Stimulates cognitive development
There is much be said about the benefits massage can have on early cognitive development. While most of a child’s brain development takes place before age six, by age three the amount of hands-on stimulation an infant has received will dictate the amount of growth in each region of the brain. This stimulation is what provides a foundation for learning and what better stimulation could there be then giving your infant a light massage.
The same study by the Touch Research Institute in Minami found, among other things, that massage help increase serotonin and dopamine levels which in turn lead to improved memory and cognitive ability. In the study, infants were randomly selected and assigned to a massage group or comparison group. Massage was applied on half the infants for 15min each day for 12 days just 10 days after they were born. Brains waves were later measured and the researchers proposed that massage has positive effects on the brains electrical activity.