Adults often reward themselves with a massage when life gets hectic. Yet between schoolwork, extracurricular activities, peer pressure, and bullying, kids are juggling almost as much as their parents. So why isn’t it more common for kids to be treated to a massage?
The idea seems to be gaining popularity here at our clinic in Newmarket, according to Align RMT Kate Weening. “I’ve noticed a lot more kids and teens coming in and complaining about the same type of aches and pains adults often deal with,” she says.
Massage therapy can be greatly beneficial for kids, especially those who are actively engaged in sports. In fact, Kate first became interested in the field after receiving a massage for a sports injury in high school. Here are a few examples of how kids and teens can benefit from massage therapy:
It Helps to Develop Healthy Body Awareness
Infant massage has long been a common practice in many cultures to help soothe, relax, and heal babies from common illnesses. It makes perfect sense, considering touch is the first sense to develop in humans. “Young kids don’t know how to express where their pain is, or where they’re holding tension. Massage helps them become more in tune with their bodies,” explains Kate.
Research shows that children who learn healthy views of touch and body awareness are more likely to develop a healthy self-esteem and a sense of boundaries.
It Helps Reduce Childhood Stress
Kids have to deal with a lot these days, especially in the era of social media where bullying and societal pressures run rampant. “I see a lot of kids who are very tight and holding a lot of tension when they shouldn’t be. As healthcare practitioners, it’s important we recognize that there may be other factors leading to this tightness other than injury,” says Kate.
Kids react to stress in the same way adults do. High levels of stress can affect their immune defense and contribute to issues like attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity and depression. Studies show that the brains of children who received massages are stimulated 20 to 30 percent more than those who didn’t—helping to reduce stress hormones and increase attentiveness.
It Teaches Better Posture
It’s not just adults who struggle with back pain. Not only do kids spend six hours a day sitting in a classroom, they spend a lot of time at home hunched over their homework or devices. “You would be shocked at just how many kids are doing their homework hunched over in bed—which is terrible for their posture” Kate says.
Not only can massage therapy help relieve back pain, our therapists will teach kids proper posture techniques and stretches to make sure their spines are healthy. Kate recommends that kids do their homework at a proper desk or table, with their knees untucked, feet flat on the floor, avoiding a “head forward” posture (otherwise known as tech neck).
If you think your child may benefit from massage therapy, contact the clinic to set up a consultation with Kate or one of our other talented RMTs.