It still surprises me the amount of people that think massaging young children is weird and inappropriate! Massage and body work has been around for a long time and in many countries is considered part of a normal healthy routine. We still don’t get it, and often believe it’s a treat or wait until we are in pain and not able to function throughout our daily routine.
There are a lot of reasons why I believe that children should be introduced to massage at an early age and used as part of a healthy routine. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together my top three reasons;
1. Anxiety & Stress
It’s hard to believe, but children can get very anxious and stressed at times. It may just be their personality, starting school, exams, meeting new people, a new teacher, going into another year or just life! The sooner we can teach them how to relax and unwind the better they will be equipped to deal with life. Our bodies are amazing and very capable once given the right tools.
Within 20 seconds of touch, the hormone Oxycontin is realised also known as the ‘love’ hormone. Our skin is the biggest sensory organ in the body and is directly linked to the nervous system which is why we feel so relaxed and chilled after a session. Massage helps to boost the hormone melatonin (the sleep hormone) which is why we often sleep well after a session. Children react particularly well to a five minute massage before bedtime helping them to relax and unwind after a busy day of learning and developing.
2. Quality time together (aka Bonding)
I recently visited my sister and her family in London. I spoke to my nephews on the phone a couple of weeks before I was due to visit and I was told that I was booked in to give them a massage!
I was really pleased that they wanted a massage and were confident enough to ask me, well tell me I was giving them a massage! After some negotiating we decided a time for their massage session off they went to prepare. I was really impressed with their preparation, they had their towels set out on their beds and a selection of music and books to keep them entertained during the session.
They are ten and eleven and two very different children, but equally both affectionate and astute in their own way. I really enjoyed the time I spent with them individually as we chatted about school, their friends and what was important to them. It’s a lovely way to spend time with children in a relaxing environment.
3. Self-confidence, body awareness and consent
Growing up can be tough and I believe the sooner children are taught to recognise their own boundaries and be confident enough to tell someone is gold. What’s acceptable to one child may not be acceptable to another and children need to be able to verbalise that.
Massage and Bodywork should always be one hundred percent permission based especially with children. I always explain to the child that if the massage doesn’t feel nice or that they don’t like it to tell me and we will stop! It’s important for them to feel in control of the situation and for me to respect when they would like the session to end.
There are many ways to massage children, skin to skin, over clothing, through storytelling or nursery rhymes, it really can be done anywhere with a bit of imagination!
(It’s also important to remember that massaging your child is just as beneficial to a parent as it is to the child). Parents who have massaged their children often feel calmer themselves and better able to deal with challenging situations not to mention the feel good factor.
For further details on massaging your child please do get in touch and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.
t: 087 9886254