Pediatric Massage Therapy

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm a Licensed Massage Therapist...I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that before on the blog. I have been now for seven years. It is a rewarding line of work.

I am not full time at it anymore. Perhaps someday again. Being a mom is my full time career right now. But as a mom, I have continued my career of massage therapy by doting on my little Cayman with massages.

Before she came along, I had zero experience with Pediatric massage. I had only worked on teens and adults. My familiarity was mainly with athletes - body builders, marathoners, triathlon-ers (is that even a word?) - those kinds of the sorts.

It's funny to think about how intimidated I felt in the beginning when working on Cayman.

While she was in the NICU, Mike and I signed up for the hospital's class on infant massage. I felt excited to be a part of this class. I wanted to put my hands to work helping my little girl with the benefits I have come to know through massage therapy.

Besides the obvious worth of relaxation and stress reduction, I also read that pediatric massage can have a plethora of advantages and specifically these were the ones that stood out to me for Cayman's needs:

  • Improve muscle tone
  • Enhance body awareness
  • Increase bonding and attachment
  • Scar tissue adhesion reduction
  • Trust building
  • Immune boosting
Massaging Cayman has been fun. It's made me entertain the idea of branching my field of work toward pediatrics in the future.

Besides just the physiological benefits of massage therapy, I have desired for Cayman to truly enjoy it, not just endure it. I think she does. Of course I don't know that for sure since she can't tell me herself. Typically in a therapy session I like to ask a series of questions to learn more about a client's needs and their reactions to the treatment.

But Cayman can't tell me exactly what she's thinking.

So I watch for other signs like her facial expressions or even breathing patterns to determine her opinions. If she's willing to allow me to massage her, I take that to mean she likes it. But her attention span is short and a massage session never last long before she's pushing my hands away. So I've never really known for sure if she likes it or not.

A massage therapist friend of mine once told me of the techniques she found useful to ease the discomfort of teething for her nephew. So I started doing the same for Cayman many months back when she started to cut her first tooth at 11 months of age.

And when Cayman started bringing in her second year molars recently, I did not even notice until she started to place her little hands on her cheeks and rub them.

She was massaging herself. How cute!

It made my heart swell with pride to see her do that.

And if that wasn't enough to make my heart burst, this next thing sure did...

Cayman rolled over next to me on the floor one day. While still laying down, she lifted her legs up in the air toward me and pushed her hands up and down her calf, rubbing it.

I smile!

Then I got out my special oil and I massaged her legs until she let me know she had enough by pushing my hands away.

After that I felt fully confident in saying...

Cayman loves being massaged!!

Massaging her face.

I recommend reading:

Children and Massage
A Powerful Combination
by Shirley Vanderbilt


TherExtras: Massage
by Dr. Boucher

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