Everybody can benefit from massage. It can help regulate the nervous system, assist with calming, help with spasticity, and digestion.
Parents can also utilize massage to ease the physical and mental stresses they experience. With the flexibility to take advantage of massage services during your child’s therapy sessions.
At SMILE, we offer more traditional forms of massage, as well as fascial stretch therapy.
Fascial stretch therapy is a form of passive facilitated stretching that uses the down-regulation of the nervous system, whereas massage is more manual manipulation of the muscle tissue. FST targets the muscle, joint, and connective tissue and is completely pain free.
Since massage therapy assists with regulation, tone and spasticity, range of motion, and pain management, it can create a more enjoyable and productive PT or OT therapy session for the child.
A combination of stretch and soft tissue massage that would assist with lengthening muscle and regulating the nervous system, fostering relaxation. This combination would work immensely well for an adult or child with high spasticity (high tone).
With children with low tone, I would use more stimulating techniques to assist with tissue health and range of motion. These techniques are a great way to promote the flow of fluids back to the heart, which the muscles of low tone kiddos are not quite as efficient at.
Depending on a child’s needs, massage can be offered either on the table, the floor, in a wheelchair, or a parent’s lap. Additional toys and distractions can also be utilized based on the child’s interests and what keeps them feeling most calm and engaged. The length of treatment is extremely flexible (starting at 15 minutes) and can easily be adapted based on the child’s tolerance, which may vary day to day.
Massage is immensely complimentary as a pre OT/PT treatment or post- treatment experience. Prior to a treatment session, massage can prepare the child’s nervous system to regulate and focus on the task at hand throughout therapy. Similarly, massage after treatment can also assist with regulating the child and allowing them to relax after a strenuous session.