Benefits of Massage Therapy for Children
What is Massage?
Massage is an aged old skill of manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue using various techniques. It enhances function, aids in the healing process, decreases muscle reflex activity, inhibits motor-neuron excitability, promotes relaxation and well-being.
How does massage help in improving children's health?
For the whole body to be healthy, the sum of its parts--the cells--must be healthy. The individual cells of the body are dependent on an abundant supply of blood and lymph because these fluids supply nutrients and oxygen and carry away wastes and toxins. Massage therapy has been found to be effective in increasing blood flow, delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells hence, resulting in a healthier body.
Lymph is the body's police force. Its white blood cells are the human body's defence mechanism that kills bacteria and neutralizes toxins. Massage is the most effective way to increase the rate at which lymph courses through the body, effectively washing out the fluid between the tissues. Coupled with the fact that massage also reduces cortisol (stress hormone) circulating in our blood, it helps to improve the immunity of the child.
Young children who received massage have lower stress hormone levels, bettersleep patterns and less anxiety. In preterm babies, those children who received massage therapy gain weight much faster and are discharged earlier from the hospital.
Is my child suitable for massage?
""Every child, no matter what age, should be massaged before bedtime on a regular basis"", so says Dr Tiffany Field, , Ph.D., of the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in Miami, Fla. Field and her associates at TRI have worked diligently over the past decade proving the benefits of massage for children. But this is not a new concept. Baby massage has long been a common practice in families of Eastern and African cultures. And massaging babies has even been shown to improve weight gain as well as reduce colic and crankiness.
Massage used to be seen as a form of luxury and indulgence. However, with over a decade of research proving the benefits of massage, it is becoming popular with parents who are looking for a more holistic approach to a child's good health. We now know that massage is a proven and effective tool which can enhance our children's development, wellbeing and good health. For teens struggling with the growing pains of adolescence, massage helps to balance unstable hormones and can relieve anxiety by producing a state of relaxation.
Where can I find good massage for children in Singapore?
In Singapore, My Kid's Spa is a new flagship wellness centre that offers massages to children from 0-16 years. The environment is cosy and child friendly and parents can have their own massage while waiting for their children. All their therapists are certified and if you are interested in learning how to massage your own child, you may even enroll for their massage workshop which is conducted in a small group by a certified baby massage instructor.
Ms Yuki is a certified therapist with 20 years of experience in massage. Being a mother herself, she understands the needs of the children. Ms Yuki and her team of therapists focus on bonding and building a supportive relationship with children, to ensure they feel safe and secure in their presence.
Workshops for Caregivers
My Kid's Spa also conducts baby massage workshops where parents can pick up key skills in baby massage, tips on how to improve parent-child bonding, as well as learn how to discover the needs of their baby better.
Article and images contributed by My Kid’s Spa – Ms Maxanne Ong, Spa Manager
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