by Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
Updated April 2016
Pediatric Massage Can Assist with Cystic Fibrosis & Asthma
Massage therapy can help with so many different types of illnesses, diagnoses and diseases, Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis are just a couple. Cystic Fibrosis is described as “an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States.” (CFF.org.) Commonly referred to as CF, it clogs the lungs and can lead to recurring life-threatening lung infections and may also obstruct the pancreas and stop enzymes. With more than 70% of patients diagnosed by the age of two, this is a real problem in pediatrics and is something that pediatric massage can assist with.
Massage Reduces Anxiety
Anxiety is a big part of the discomfort associated with Cystic Fibrosis, Asthma and other breathing related issues. If a child has anxiety about the potential of not breathing, it can actually prompt breathing issues.
A large part of what massage does, is provide relaxation, and the majority of studies have shown that when it comes to Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and other lung issues, massage reduces anxiety. Recently, a study was done where parents massaged their child with CF for 20 minutes before bed. It resulted in both the child and parent reporting reduced anxiety. On top of that, the peak air flow was also found to have improved for the children who received massage!
Pediatric Massage Therapy May be a Viable Choice for Your Child
Another study focused on children with asthma. One group received twenty minutes of either relaxation therapy or massage therapy (both provided by parents.) Decreases in anxiety coupled with higher cortisol levels, peak air flow and other pulmonary functions also improved in the children who were massaged. Important to note that those who had lower anxiety, also felt better overall about asthma and even became more vocal about it by the end of the study.
Overall, research has shown that pediatric massage therapy can ease both physical symptoms as well as emotional discomforts associated with pediatric medical conditions. Research studies conducted by the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine, demonstrate that massage can alleviate pain, anxiety and depression in pediatric clients. This innovative healing touch therapy also provides comfort, relaxation, reduction of stress hormones and relief from chronic conditions such as asthma, nausea, constipation and muscle aches.
Pediatric massage therapy may be a viable choice for your child with asthma, Cystic Fibrosis or other ailments. As always, we recommend contacting your primary care provider before starting any new treatment.
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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