Baby and child massage benefits
My two little boys are very tactile and always ask for a back massage after their bedtime story and song. I have always instinctively known the importance of a loving touch and have stroked and soothed them both since the day they were born. My eldest son, Billy who is five years old, just loves his nightly back massage and always asks for ‘just a few more minutes’, he finds it so calming and relaxing and I see it as the perfect way to end the day, enabling him to drift off into a lovely sleep. Penny Price, mother of eight children, Super Nanny expert and Director of Penny Price Aromatherapy Ltd and the Penny Price Academy, is also a big fan of massage for children and here she shares the many benefits it offers. Take it away Penny….
The benefits of massage to babies and children cannot be extolled highly enough. Massage is touch in its most positive form, and most children love being held and cuddled by a parent. Let us look at the areas where massage can help.
Unfortunately, parenting often comes as rather a surprise to many new mothers and fathers, when “bonding” is not always a natural process and has to be worked at (like most relationships in life). Learning to massage children can be an important building block in this process whereby even a mechanical massage routine can lead to genuine empathy and love between parent and child.
Once a child is used to a massage routine and it becomes part of a daily or weekly routine, then she will associate the massage with a parent’s total attention, and recognise it as a valuable gift of love.
Massage from an early age (although it is never too late to start) can nurture feelings of confidence and a positive self-image. Children can learn to look at their bodies in a more confident way and be “in touch” with themselves as well as relaxed. It also helps if siblings are taught to give massage as well as receive it. Giving as well as receiving encourages harmony and tolerance in the household and a certain degree of respect for each other.
As a prophylactic
It is generally accepted that stress is responsible for a great number of emotional and physical problems. Regular massage will help to dissipate stress and at the same time improve circulation and muscle tone (massage is a form of passive exercise).
Through massage children can learn to love themselves. They appreciate their bodies and they grow up unashamed of them. This leads to self-confidence and helps them to be at ease with others. Massage from a very early age can help to combat low self-esteem and encourage healthy self-love.
Just imagine – if we did not wonder what other people thought of us; if only we did not have to compare ourselves with pictures in magazines; if only we were all comfortable with ourselves – what a wonderful place the world would be. This must be the ultimate aim for any parent: to bring up an emotionally secure and stable child.
The health benefits of massage are numerous as you can see from the list below:
- Relief of mental and physical fatigue; induces deep relaxation
- Improved mobility; massage is a form of passive exercise
- Promotion of easy and correct posture, therefore producing better health
- Stimulation of body and mind without negative side effects
- Reduction of inflammation and/or pain
- Improvement of the circulation of blood and lymph
- Increase in the detoxifying function of the kidneys
- Encouraging elimination via the lymphatic system.
From the above you can see that a prophylactic effect is gained by regular massage. This means that disease can be kept at bay just by keeping the body systems as healthy as possible with massage. Much can be achieved by giving up even 5 minutes of time to massage a child; if she loves it give her more time – 15 to 20 minutes is usually long enough for most children. It is beneficial if you let the child rest afterwards covered with a blanket.
References: Aromatherapy for Babies and Children. P Price, S Price. Riverhead, England.
Penny Price MEd (Oxon.) is the Academy Principal and Director of Penny Price Aromatherapy Ltd. If you would like further information you can email Penny at [email protected] or visit her website for more information on the products available www.penny-price.com