How many of you got professional massages when you were kids? Probably not many of you did. I have had a number of clients over the years who are kids - as young as four years old, right up through teen years and it makes me think about the many ways in which massage is beneficial for kids of all ages.
Body Language: I encourage kids to tell me if I am using too much pressure, to tell me if they are uncomfortable and how I can change the treatment to make it better for them, to say what feels good and what doesn't feel good. This dialogue helps them develop their ability to say what they want and don't want happening to their bodies and it helps build confidence in their ability to communicate about themselves. I think it's a great skill to develop early on in life.
Stress Management: You might think kids feel stress temporarily and then let it go. But sometimes I think kids feel stress in their bodies even more than adults do. Because for the most part, children can't put their stress in a context - they haven't had enough life experience to understand that their stress will pass. They live much more in the moment than we do and if the moment is stressful, then it's magnified in their minds. Additionally, kids are at the mercy of their parents' life decisions, and when parents' lives are stressful, the kids have no power to change it and just have to sit with the weight of their parents' stress.
How Does It Happen?
Usually the child's parent brings a book and sits in the treatment room with us during the first appointment. At the second appointment, the parent most often sits in the waiting area in the hall, and at some point when the child is comfortable with it, the parent drops the child off and returns after the appointment is over. However, any of these situations is fine with me - the parent can sit in on every session, every time - or sit in the hallway every time - whatever is most comfortable to everyone involved is what can happen. 6 and 7 year olds seem most comfortable with a 30 minute appointment and older kids like an hour long treatment, but each child is unique and has different needs and attentions spans.
"The massage made me feel like Jalapeño on The Annoying Orange Show; smooth and relaxed and like nothing could bother me, even when everyone was talking around me."
- Connor, age 8
"The massage Jessica did to me make my muscles feel bigger and stronger and make my heart beat faster."
- Kyle, age 6
"When I get a massage with Jessica I feel so good."
- Anna, age 9
"I feel like I just been born."
- Johnathan, age 6