Sunday, January 17, 2010

Massages increase muscle awareness

During my pregnancy, I knew about the massage therapy to improve muscle tone. It was one of my first questions when I had the meeting with my EIP coordinator. She recommended to talk the physical therapist who will be able to provide the guidence for baby massages.

The study Children with Down syndrome improved in motor functioning and muscle tone following massage therapy describes massage therapy as "a passive treatment that requires little, if any, physical demands on the individual receiving the therapy."

According to the Mayo Clinic, "Massage therapy techniques can decrease swelling and impaired joint mobility, ease muscle spams and muscle tension, and increase circulation to promote healing. Massage also can reduce pain and improve muscle tone. Specialists at Mayo Clinic recognize that many complementary and alternative medicine treatments such as massage can promote physical, mental and spiritual wellness."

During our Physical Therapist's first visit we talked about massages for Tommy. She explained to me several techniques. She also said that the best and simple way to give massages in in firm circle motions. A year later, his PT suggested  to give massages with a vibrating hand massager because he could get more awarness and sensory input in his muscle. 

We gives massages to Tommy in the morning and before he goes to bed. We gives massages on all his body from head to toes. We have two vibrating massager, one is for me and the other one is for him. While I am giving massages around his body, Tommy plays with his purple massager. When is time to massage his hands we practice opposites (On and Off) by turning on and off the massager, therefore he has to isolate his index finger.  I also use this time for language development because I talk about the body parts.  I explain to him that we can blink our eyes, we can smell with our nose, we can smile with our mouth and we can hear with our ears.  I do facial expressions and he tries to copy me. In this way, it is easier for the child to understand the difference of each part of the face.  I also sing "head, Shoulders, Knee and Toes" and he like this song. He has fun with this silly games.

According to the book "Bright from the star" by Jill Stamm, PH. D., 'To a baby, touch is a physical requirement that she needs to both receive and to use every single day. "as critical a nutrient as a vitamin", says Bruce Perry, M. D., PH.D., a child psychiatrist who is leading expert on brain development and childhood trauma... Touch tells the brain, "you are wanted organism!" This stimulates the development of both physical and emotional systems.' Therefore, massage therapy provides the benefits of skin-to-skin contact. This book has a good guidance of how to give baby massages.

I am not good giving massages, but I try to do my best. I am thinking to take some classes to improve my massage techniques. 

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