Children’s massage is not at all a new development, though it is not nearly as popular in the US as it is worldwide. In many traditional cultures, massage for children is commonplace and nearly ubiquitous, such as is the case in India. The most common reaction to the idea that Pediatric Massage helps children ease stress is the response that kids live stress-free lives. Nothing is further from the truth, and those of us with good memory recall can remember just how stressful childhood was.
a well-adjusted child, living in a caring family, there is opportunity for stress. As “grown-ups”, we tend to patronize children, insisting that playing with Barbies can’t be quite so stressful, and “real” stress begins with having a job and family – real responsibilities! However, such an idea is actually insulting to kids’ real experiences, as it is a well known fact among those studying child development that kids get stressed, too.
Maybe it is the distance of time, but most of us had experiences as a child that were fraught with stress. Stress is unavoidable. Let us consider just a few stressors that kids deal with daily. There’s school. That includes deadlines for projects, studying for tests, the pressure of maintaining grades. There are also the social stresses involved with even normal friendships, but then there’s also the more extreme stressors, such as being targeted by a bully at school.
Kids’ social lives are complex and often present ample opportunity for stressful experiences. Kids can form cliques in the classroom, and teasing and bullying are not at all uncommon, even among girls (such as described in this book from Amazon). As children reach adolescence, they also have the added stress of dating and dealing with the added freedoms that go with that period of life.
Peer pressure also creeps in around this time, as more freedom, (and freedom from adult supervision) of course, means more kids doing what adults tell them not to do. This can be incredibly stressful for kids, as they are alone for the first time without their parents’ protection, and must make sound choices on their own for the first time in their lives.
Home life can also be a significant source of stress for kids. Even under ideal conditions, there are all sorts of situations that can be stressful, from competing for the bathroom in the morning, to dealing with a diet that the child does not like. Some families are not so stable, and kids are exposed to all sorts of stressful scenes, sometimes culminating in parental separation or even divorce.
Then there’s sports. And the arts. It’s great when kids are involved in these extra-curricular activities, because they present the opportunity for a different sort of learning, however, such activities also present opportunities for stress all their own. Kids may have performance anxiety, whether it concerns batting at softball, or playing Beethoven in a piano recital.
It’s all very easy to laugh at our kids when they come to us complaining of feeling stressed. Adults may even say how cute this is, and get a good laugh out of it all. But the life of a child is often stressful, as life itself is inherently stressful. Massage For Children is definitely appreciated by pediatric clients; their feedback suggests that kids experienced a much higher level of stress before the session than after. Most of these unprompted comments demonstrate that children really are as stressed as psychologists tell us, and further, that Massage for Children is actually a great solution for dealing with such stress.
Beginning with infants, Pediatric Massage has been found to be helpful to kids in numerous studies. (Check out our studies page by clicking here) As kids get older, Massage Therapy helps different sorts of issues that generally occur at each stage of development. Parents should consider learning basic infant massage; there are a plethora of books and videos available, and local classes are easy to find in most cities and even suburban areas.
Massage for Children on site is another choice. Massage Therapists travel to your location and provide therapeutic massage for your child, right in your own home. This is quite helpful in that kids may find the new surroundings of the day spa intimidating and stressful, in and of itself. Having a massage session in the familiar surroundings of home, definitely helps pediatric clients to feel more at ease.
Whatever you do, don’t laugh at your kids when they complain about feeling stressed. You may be doing so innocently, not realizing that your child is serious, and may be feeling a high level of anxiety or tension, and you may be inadvertently keeping him from trying to tell you again in the future.
Some adults seems to think that when kids complain of feeling stressed, they’re just mimicking adults. Studies, anecdotal reports of others, as well as our own experience working with children, suggest otherwise. Childhood and adolescent stress is real. The claim that kids are stress-free may be the prevailing sentiment in society, but we should all know better by now.
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