by Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
Updated April 2016
The Signs and Symptoms of ADHD & ADD
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are biological, neurological conditions that have exploded onto the scene in the past ten years. The signs and symptoms typically appear before the age of seven, and are often difficult to distinguish between normal “kid behavior.”
The Many Benefits that May Come from Using Massage
In the United States, there are an estimated two to four percent of school age children with ADHD, and fifty percent of them are on some form of prescription medication for treatment! With statistics like these, it's not a surprise that I receive many questions about the benefits of massage in these cases. While every child is different, and responds to massage in their own way, I decided to answer some of the frequently asked questions I have received about using massage with children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.
Q. Will Massage really help my ADD/ADHD child sleep?
A. Yes, it’s very possible! Massage may not only help your child fall asleep quicker, sleep more soundly through the night, but for a longer period as well. This can assist in your child’s mood, their behavior, and may even decrease hyperactivity. Studies show massage is likely to reduce sleep walking and children will then spend more time in a relaxed sleep throughout the night.
Q. Can massage help my child sit and focus better?
A. It might just help! Research demonstrates that massage increases mental focus and concentration. One specific study showed that students who received massage were more productive in class, and their teachers rated them less hyperactive.
Q. Will massage help with my child’s mood?
A. Several recent studies of children who received a 20-minute massage twice a week showed immediate improvement in their moods and longer-term behavioral improvement in the classroom. Interestingly enough, they also reported feeling happier than peers who participated in a relaxation therapy program, as opposed to the massage sessions.
Q. I want to try massage, but my child has a very short attention span. What do you recommend?
A. Because children with ADHD have trouble sitting still for too long, they may tolerate shorter but more frequent massages. Studies recommend two 20-minute massages a week to assist in producing benefits for the child.
Adding massage to your child's routine may not only help improve many different facets of their life, when you choose to facilitate the massage yourself, you may also strengthen your communication and the bond with your child at the same time!
Massage may be a supportive therapy that can be readily applied, most effectively by specially trained massage therapists or by parents who have learned massage techniques from a skilled, educated massage therapist. Pediatric massage and nurturing touch are the most appropriate massage techniques to use in this population. When using massage therapy for children with cancer, your work does not need to be aggressive to achieve its maximum potential.
For more information visit Comprehensive Pediatric Massage Training Course (CPMT)
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