benefit from massage therapy.
One very common condition that infants and toddlers experience is colic. This is an issue with unknown causes which makes children cry for more than three hours per day and more than three days per week. Massage therapy has been shown to have some beneficial effects of infant colic. See our studies page for more details on massage and colic.
Another condition that children often suffer from that has been shown to benefit from massage therapy is anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology in 1999 showed that children suffering from anxiety caused by their condition of cystic fibrosis had improved mood and sleep after massage therapy, as well as less anxiety caused by their condition.
Another study regarding anxiety and depression with regard to children who had depression and adjustment disorder showed that giving the children a 30 minute back massage every day for a five day period had reduced levels of anxiety and depression. The self reported findings were also correlated with nurse reports and salivary cortisol level tests. Nighttime sleep for these patients also increased during the time of the study.
One uncommon complaint of infants and children are migraines and headaches. Some children have constant migraines and headaches, and although it is rare, this is a condition that can be successfully helped without drugs or surgery with massage therapy. A study published in Annual Behavior and Medicine in 2006 showed positive benefits for people suffering from migraines who were given frequent massages. Another study published in the Journal of Headache Pain in 2011 showed that massage therapy, as well as chiropractic spinal manipulation, physiotherapy, and relaxation were as effective as two of the most commonly prescribed drug therapies for migraine. The results of these studies are promising for individuals seeking a non-pharmacologic treatment for migraines, especially with regard to children who may be too young to take the prescription medications.
Craniosacral therapy has also demonstrated effectiveness on migraines sufferers, in many cases causing alleviation of migraine symptoms for one month or more from a single treatment. Since craniosacral therapy helps to gently move the bones of the spine, particularly those of the occiput and sacrum, it is likely that some migraines may be caused by incorrectly aligned spinal bones. The results of these studies are very promising to those suffering from migraines, especially small children.
These studies explored above show that massage therapy can have very beneficial effects on children suffering from certain medical conditions. While this is the case, ordinary children who do not currently suffer from any medical conditions can also benefit from massage therapy, both as a preventative measure and as a way to alleviate stress and tension caused by everyday living, including schoolwork and other obligations.
If you are interested in learning more about pediatric massage therapy, please check out our website by clicking here.