Massage therapy for kids? 7 good reasons to give it a try
Although sports massage therapy has been proven as a remedy for sore muscles, stiff joints and chronic pain, parents often overlook this treatment for their young athlete. Perhaps because it’s associated with luxury spas, parents may believe massage therapy is a bit indulgent for a child.
Sports massage therapy can pay off with health benefits for young athletes.
If done by a licensed and well-trained therapist, regular sports massages can improve your child’s fitness, athletic performance and self-esteem. Here are seven good reasons to give it a try:
1. Improve body image
According to a study conducted by the Touch Research Institute, women who struggle with either anorexia nervosa or bulimia benefited from regular massages. The study showed that regular massage decreased anxiety levels, while increasing levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine. Massages also reduced depression. Participants in the study also showed better body awareness. Girls with better body awareness are less likely to suffer from eating disorders, a concern among parents of youth athletes.
2. Soothe sore muscles
Like older athletes, youngsters who participate in sports sustain sore muscles due to overuse. Massage therapy can aid in pre-competition warmup or reduce post-game recovery time. A light massage can also reduce stiffness and prevent soft-tissue type injuries such as sprain or strain.
3. Increase range of motion
Massage therapists often incorporate mild stretching into treatments. This helps increase range of motion. By manipulating trigger points, massage therapists can zero in on movement issues related to specific sports, such as tennis elbow or baseball-related rotator cuff injuries.
4. Decrease muscle tension
The primary reason people seek massage therapy is to relax. This works for children too. Massage therapy can sooth tight muscles and improve a child’s overall mood. Children, who participate in high-impact and high-stress sports such as gymnastics or figure skating, can benefit from foot massage to relieve tension.
5. Reduce chronic pain
Regular massages can reduce chronic ailments such as back pain and cramping.
Massage can increase blood flow and improve circulation, which also aids in alleviating dull pain around joints. Aches associated with repetitive movement can also be addressed in sports massage therapy.
6. Improve sleep
Reduced stress, decreased muscle tension and pain relief lead to improved sleep. The Sleep Review magazine reports that massage has been shown to improve sleep in infants, children and adults.
7. Enhance athletic performance
Regular massage improves overall wellness. A child who is less stressed, pain-free, relaxed, and loose and sleeps well, will be a better athlete.
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