Massage is known to do the following:
- Increase the body's circulation which delivers nutrients, oxygen and blood more quickly
- Improve muscle tone
- Affect Muscles throughout the body by eliminating restrictions to muscle tissue incresing range of motion and functionality
- Prevent/Delay Muscular Atrophy
- Loosen scar tissue
- Increase venous flow
- Enhance skin condition
- Bring new awareness to areas of the body
- Relieve mental and physical fatigue
- Increase joint flexability
- Strengthen the immune system and promote disease prevention
Next is a wonderful article of the benefits of massage for children. If you would like to see more on this study, contact me and I can provide more suport around the study that is referred to in the following article.
Preschool Children In Sweden Experience Benefits of Massage
By Rolf Elmström
In our modern society, stress has become a serious problem. The tempo of life has rapidly accelerated, and we notice that we are always short of time. Communication is done more and more using technology and machines. Our children’s natural play is being replaced by sitting in front of TVs and computers.
To counter this behavioral pattern in children, Axelsons Gymnastika Institute, which is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and is one of Scandinavia's largest and most prestigious therapeutic massage schools, studied the effects of massaging children, with favorable results.
While the Miami-based Touch Research Institutes (TRI) is carrying out a great deal of research on the importance of touch in the United States, in Sweden, Karolinska Institute Professor Kerstin Uvnäs-Moberg has shown that the level of the peace-and-calm hormone, oxytocin, increases with touch, and at the same time the stress hormone cortisol decreases.
At Axelsons, teachers are being taught how to massage their students.
Together, Uvnäs-Moberg, Professor Annelise von Knorring from the Psychiatric Clinic for Children in Uppsala, and researchers from Axelsons Gymnastiska Institute have done a study on 150 children in preschool.
The study clearly shows that with massage:
- Levels of aggression, anxiety and stress are lower;
- Children function better in groups; and
- Psychosomatic illnesses are fewer.
After being in contact with researchers from TRI, the Swedish researchers realized the importance of touch and massage, especially to young children. Therefore, they started the project Massage at Preschool and School at the Axelsons Gymnastika Institute. They believed it was important to spread this knowledge, starting first with kindergarteners.
Axelsons organizes courses for people working with children. The purpose of these courses is to provide the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to introduce massage in schools. The courses include elementary massage, how to massage, the strokes used, where and when not to massage, and how often you can massage. Students learn how to give a whole body massage, give a massage sitting on a chair, massage children, teach children to massage one another, and learn how to integrate massage into everyday schoolwork.
Through Axelsons, some 8,000 teachers have been trained in teaching massage to children throughout the country during the last five years. Reports have flooded back to researchers about what a great difference massage makes in the children’s groups, such as:
- Groups become calmer;
- There is less aggression in the groups;
- Children fight less;
- Children can concentrate easily;
- Children develop empathy; and
- Children learn to say no to unwanted physical contact.
The children are enjoying their experience with massage, and have even brought their knowledge home to their families. Says one 9-year-old girl, “When my father is angry, I give him massage, and then he is not angry any more.”
Teachers also have benefited from the course. From one teacher’s comment after a course: “This is the best further-training course I have been on, and I have been on many. Since I took this course, the children in my class have had 20 minutes every day to massage one another. The first term the children practiced together with me, but now they work two-and-two in their own rhythm directly at their desks.”
Touch is the first sense we develop, and it is extremely important for communication and learning. Everyone needs both physical and psychological contact with others. As an added bonus, positive physical contact nourishes both the giver and the receiver. It is the hope of the researchers to continue to work in Sweden with massage and children, and that these children will take this positive experience with them into adulthood.
Again, if you would like to see more on this study, contact me and I can provide more suport around the study that is referred to in the following article.
The source for the following information is from Vanderbilt Medical Center.
Touch therapy soothes infants in unit
By: Paul Govern
Staff nurse Annette Reed is a licensed massage therapist and certified infant massage instructor who applies these skills in the course of her work as a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit. Reed, who also instructs fellow staff members in touch therapy and infant massage, has cared for babies for 18 years and says therapeutic touch has always been used to some extent by NICU nurses, whether consciously or not.
Touch therapy and massage reduce stress and are seen to help infants sleep deeper and longer. “Touch and massage are very nurturing, and they’re especially helpful for babies who have had repeated medical interventions,” Reed said.
Therapy begins with touch and containment with the hands, followed by stroking of any body areas that may have endured painful stimulus. Techniques also include skin-to-skin contact with the infant held to the parent’s chest, and body massage for the medically stable infant. Used by certified practitioners in many U.S. medical centers, the technique is adaptable for needs of individual infants.
(The International Infant Massage Therapy Association was founded in 1986. Two of the world’s four institutes for touch therapy research are located in the United States, at UCLA and the University of Miami.)
Reed performs massage therapy with the babies she follows as a primary nurse and instructs parents on how to continue the therapy on their own. She also collaborates with medical teams and parents of other NICU babies. As teams note the benefits, Reed’s skills are increasingly requested.
Reed recently started a monthly class for staff, covering sensory development in infants, research supporting massage therapy, the importance of touch for hospitalized infants and strategies to relieve stress and overstimulation for these patients. “To help ensure positive interaction and good outcomes, our unit has a strong commitment to help parents understand their babies’ particular needs and abilities. Touch and massage therapy is one more way to enhance that interaction,” said Reed, who also performs chair massages for NICU staff and parents one day per week.
Reed recalls a particular patient whom she began working with halfway through a six-month admission. The baby’s mother was unable to visit the hospital regularly. Along with her fragile medical condition, this unhappy infant had developed severe touch aversion. Reed helped create a strong team of nurses for daily massage therapy. “By the time she left she was a happy, smiling baby. I know that we made a tremendous difference in her life,” Reed said. “We are constantly looking for ways to improve care in the NICU and this is one more way nurses can make a difference in patients’ lives.”
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