Benefits of massage for Children

As children progress from the baby stage, they will continue to enjoy the attention of a massage. Now the massage strokes are applied firmly up the arms and legs,

followed by a light touch down the limbs.

No human will thrive without human touch. This especially applies to children who are insecure, for whatever reason. Adopted children are bonded more successfully if they are given loving massages. Not only is the touch of such value, but all children enjoy being the focus of attention, which is the case when they are being massaged.

Through massage, parents can produce positive reactions from their children. This will strengthen the parent-child bond, enabling the parents to experience the happiness their children bring.


Benefits of massage therapy for Children


The purpose of early baby massage is to help the infant move freely after the constriction of the womb, but as the child grows the principles of fluid flow in the body need to be applied. Now the child is older, the strokes should be applied firmly up the limbs, but only a very light touch is used when coming back down the arms and legs. This mode of massage can be gradually adapted for a healthy baby from about five months onwards. As children grow, they will exert their wishes about when, how and where, and even why, they want a massage. The decisions taken should be mutually pleasing. Above all, the massage must be fun, giving joy to both participants, whatever their ages.

If the child becomes restless, keep the message short. Experiment with the following suggestions to find out what your child prefers. For information about oils to use for a children's message see the previous article on aromatherapy.

If you wish to use essential oils for children's massage, prepare 2/3 oz (20 ml) base carrier oil with 3-5 drops essential oil.

Back Massage

1. Begin at the sacrum. Using effleurage (a gentle smoothly flowing stroke) move up the child's back, your hands on either side of the spine. Lead with the fingers first, then next with the thumbs. Stroke up to the neck then back down the sides of the child's back.

2. Using the movement of frictions (small circular movements made with the pads of the thumbs or fingers) begin at the sacrum, then work up the muscles on either side of the spine.

3. Use the tips of your fingers to tap the muscles to stimulate the child's whole back.

4. Finish with a very light effleurage as in step 1.

There is no need to remove the child's clothes if the child prefers to keep them on. A massage through light clothes can be just as effective.

Legs and feet Massage

1. Using one hand on each leg, begin at the child's feet and massage up the legs. On the calves and thighs, work firmly with a "push, pull" kneading action.

2. Slide lightly back to the feet.

3. Rotate the ankle and using your body weight pull the toes.

Abdomen Massage

When massaging the abdomen, always use clockwise movements.

Gently oil the abdomen, always moving in a clockwise direction. Begin with the left hand moving in a complete circle. Keep the left-hand circling. Place the right hand on the abdomen to trace a partial circle as the left-hand goes past.

Use your fingers to move up, across, and down the colon. The colon (large intestine) runs up the right side, across the abdomen, and down the left side of the body in an inverted "U"

Arms and hands Massage

1. Effleurage (stroke) firmly from the fingertips to the shoulder of the child's left arm, returning lightly. Place your hands one on either side of the child's arm with your palms facing each other. Press inwards. With gentle but sustained pressure, move your hands in circles up the arm from the wrist to the shoulder. Follow with strokes (effleurage) to the arm and hand.

2. Stretch and rotate the child's wrist.

3. Repeat the sequence on the right arm and hand.

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