Youth and Massage



We, as adults, are familiar with massage in some shape, form, or fashion.  Some know it as a way to treat ourselves to a nice day of relaxation in a spa.  Others are more familiar associating it with pain management or a way to keep their bodies from becoming injured during exercise or strenuous activity.  Some get regular massage in order to keep their stress level down, mostly experienced by tight neck, shoulders, headaches, and/or hypertension.  Most of us know that in order to function at our highest potential; we must do things like get a massage on a regular basis.  However, there is one population that is widely overlooked that could greatly benefit from the effects of massage.  This population cannot seek treatment without the accompaniment of an adult.  I am talking about children and adolescents.

Children and adolescents go thru as much, if not more, stress as an adult.  Yes, they don’t have a job like we do, unless they are 16+, but school is a job.  Think back to when you were in school.  It wasn’t easy.  First let’s look at the physical stressors a young person experiences.  From the time of conception we are on a path that leads to the necessity of massage, however, that is infant massage and for today’s purpose I am discussing preschool age and up.  Most kids like to go outside and play with friends.  Even though it is not what we consider a conventional method of exercise, this is still a physical exertion on their body much in comparison to cross-training.  Then as they get older, the amount of physical stressors can compound rapidly. Some young people have the privilege of playing sports; football, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer and the list goes on depending on the area in which you live.  Other young people get the privilege of dance; ballet, tap, jazz etc.  Just like with adults, in order to maintain peak performance and reduce the probability of injury, the addition of massage is an ideal way to sustain full range of motion and muscle flexibility.

Just as adults, young people also experience mental and emotional stressors.  As adults, we feel pressure from our job, our government, our budget and anything else you want to throw in there.  When a child starts school, they are embarking on a journey of learning from scratch much the same as if we were dropped off into another country not knowing the language.  As they get older, the curriculum gets harder and the tests are more intense.  The pressure to make good grades to get into a good college can really take its toll on most.  Add in an afterschool job and you have a great recipe for any multitude of physical and/or emotional ailments.

As a dad, I have seen these things from a parent’s perspective, and as a massage therapist, I have also witnessed the effects during all stages of growth.  Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to help my daughter as she is going thru these stages and she has benefited from the positive results delivered thru massage.