3 Ways Teenagers Can Benefit from Massage

Adolescence is a unique stage of life. In between childhood and adulthood, teens go through massive changes on both a physiological and a psychological level. Naturally, this means that teens also have unique health and wellness issues. While nothing replaces regular physical exams with a physician and an active lifestyle, massage therapy can be a valuable component of a teen’s health and wellness. Here are three different issues often occurring during adolescence that massage has been shown to help:

1. Poor body image and eating disorders.

According to the National Health 3% of American teens suffer from an eating disorder, and the majority of them go untreated. Depression, social pressures regarding appearance, and participation in sports where leanness is valued (such as gymnastics, wrestling, and diving), are all associated with the development of eating disorders. Needless to say, high school provides ample opportunity for all of these.

Studies done at the Touch Research Institute with women who struggle with either anorexia nervosa or bulimia showed that regular massage decreased anxiety levels, increased levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine, and reduced depression scores. Participants in the study also showed better scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory, indicating better body awareness. While counseling is obviously of paramount importance, massage therapy can be a powerful adjunct to other forms of treatment for eating disorders.

2. PMS and menstrual pain.

What’s worse than menstrual problems? Menstrual problems when you’re a teenager. Between the irregular cycles, the inexperience with managing symptoms, and the embarrassment about getting help, adolescence can be a rough time to have a uterus. Effective treatments like hormonal birth control can have negative social connotations, and require a pelvic exam to obtain, a procedure that most teen girls have yet to experience and may wish to avoid.

Massage therapy has been shown to help with pain, anxiety, and feelings of depression related to PMS, as well as other symptoms like water retention. Girls can also benefit from learning self-massage techniques to use when experiencing menstrual cramps on a day-to-day basis.

3. Athletic injuries.

While high school athletes are injured at around the same rate as professional athletes, their growing bodies mean that they’re often injured in different ways. Since bones grow before muscles and tendons do, youth are more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries. Sprains, strains, growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness  are among the most common injuries among young athletes. Boys are most likely to experience athletic injuries while playing ice hockey, rugby and soccer, while soccer, basketball and gymnastics lead to the most injuries in girls.

Sports massage has a long history, and can be especially effective when dealing with repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow and runner’s knee. Massage therapists are now found at every kind of sporting event, from the Olympic  all the way down to your local 10K. Given that teen athletes can be more vulnerable to injury and overuse than their adult counterparts, it makes sense to offer them the same opportunities for healing and pain relief.

Massage Therapy For Teenagers – Where To Begin

You may come home one day to someone that you no longer recognize as your child. Of course not, she is no longer a child. She may not be an adult yet either. She is somewhere in between and that is exactly how she may feel at this time. Are you looking for an experience that may help your teen during this time of transition? Massage Therapy for Teenagers can help with growing pains, body image, and learning to feel comfortable in one’s body. Plus, it offers a welcomed break from poor posture during school and many hours of gaming or computer time.

There are several massage therapy choices for teenagers. Like so many things that we explore in life, there are different levels of massage that are appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced clients. This article presents different modes of massage therapy that are commonly available for teenagers. Some may be received while fully clothed or combined with an oil massage.

Chair Massage provides a great introduction to the benefits of Massage Therapy for Teenagers without concerns for modesty. A teen’s first visit to a massage therapist may be awkward (like most things at this time of life), so the chair massage is a perfect place to start. A 15- to 30-minute session for an anxious teenager should be enough to let him know that he can trust the therapist.

CranioSacral Therapy has been proven to be beneficial in treating autism and learning difficulties. This technique must be experienced to be fully appreciated. The therapist uses a very light touch to release tissue restrictions affecting the vertebrae or cranial bones (in the head). CST is especially useful with special-needs clients of all sorts. If the condition resulted from birth or another trauma, such as a fall, CranioSacral Therapy may help to manage symptoms or, in some cases, completely reverse the condition.

Neuromuscular ReEducation helps to release chronic holding patterns caused by stress. This technique uses a gentle, repetitive rocking motion for each area of the body. We all have stress holding patterns, like the shoulder that rises toward the ear when stressed. NMR allows the client to “let go” of that pattern and find a better way to move in ease.

Thai Massage combines Acupressure and gentle, passive, Yoga-like stretching. It is received while on a special mat on the floor. Your teen can enjoy Thai Massage as a means to enhance sports training, both pre- and post-event.

Once comfortable with a therapist, your teen may be ready to try an oil massage. Swedish Massage is very popular with teenagers. This technique is relaxing and helps to ease symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression.

Like Thai Massage, Deep Tissue Massage may be beneficial in sports training. It is best to try Deep Tissue after becoming at ease with providing the therapist feedback during Swedish Massage.

Hot Stone Massage is an extension of Swedish Massage with the deep relaxation induced by heat. This technique is not recommended for some teenagers or for any client’s first time receiving Massage Therapy since she/he must feel confident in providing feedback to the therapist regarding sensitivity to heat.

In summary, your teenager should start with a gentler technique, like chair massage, to get accustomed to letting go and relaxing with the therapist. After one or two sessions he or she may be ready to try another technique. Seek out a Massage Therapy Practice that offers many different types of massage under one roof. This will allow the teenager to discuss the next step with the current therapist.

History of Massage Therapy & How It Evolved

The Origins of Massage Therapy

Massage therapy history dates back thousands of years to ancient cultures that believed in it’s medical benefits. The first written records of massage therapy are found in China and Egypt.

2700 BCE: The first known Chinese text is called “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic Book of Internal Medicine.” This book was first published in English in 1949, but has become a staple in massage therapy training and is also often used as a textbook for teaching many other forms of alternative medicine such as acupuncture, acupressure and herbology.

2500 BCE: Egyptian tomb paintings show that massage therapy was also a part of their medical tradition. Egyptians get the credit for pioneering reflexology. Their studies and traditions greatly influenced other cultures such as the Greeks and Romans.

1500 and 500 BCE: The first known written massage therapy traditions come from India, but practice may have actually originated around 3000 BCE or earlier. Hindus used the art of healing touch in the practice of Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda, a Sanskrit word, translates to “life health” or “life science.” It is regarded as the basis of holistic medicine, combining meditation, relaxation and aromatherapy.

Into the West

Early 1800s: It was from this early massage therapy history that the Swedish doctor, gymnast and educator Per Henril Ling developed a method of movement known as the “Swedish Movement System.” This is regarded as the foundation for Swedish massage most commonly used in the West today.

Although the “Swedish Movement System” was developed by Ling, it was Dutchman Johan Georg Mezger who defined the basic hand strokes of Swedish massage.

Today the most common types of massage practiced in the western hemisphere are Swedish massage and the Japanese massage practice of Shiatsu.

Where the Industry Is Going

Considering the long history of massage, its incorporation into Western medicine is only in its infancy. The potential for growth and research of the healing properties of therapeutic massage and body work has gained great momentum over the last fifty years, and the public demand for massage therapy is at an all-time high.

As a preventative practice, therapeutic massage is used in spas, gyms and work places all over the country. Using massage therapy to promote balance and maintain internal and external health is something that is now a standard part of the North American lifestyle.

In the health care industry, massage is commonly used in hospitals, nursing homes and birthing centers. It is also used in physical Therapy and in chiropractic clinics to treat pain, increase circulation and expedite the healing of injured muscles.

What is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is a simple and effective way to improve physical and mental health. Sessions typically last from 15 to 90 minutes. There are many different types of therapeutic massage, some of which include:

  • Swedish massage – a classic form of massage that relaxes tense muscles and improves blood circulation. The skin and muscles in affected areas are gently stroked, kneaded, rubbed, tapped, and vibrated.
  • Manipulation – ligaments, tendons, and muscles are massaged, stretched, and moved to improve mobility and to relieve pain. It is often done in combination with physical therapy techniques.
  • Mobilization – focuses on moving the spine, joints, and muscles in the body to improve mobility, relax muscles, and improve posture. Like manipulation, it is done with physical therapy techniques.
  • Connective tissue massage – treats illnesses by relieving tension in connective tissue, which connects organs, muscles, and nerves together.
  • Deep tissue massage – treats the deeper layers of muscle by applying strong pressure to muscles and tendons.
  • Myofascial (trigger point) massage – pressure is specifically applied to pain-triggering points that are oversensitive, tense muscle tissue and adhesions of connective tissue. The idea of trigger points is controversial and myofascial massage may not be consistently effective .
  • Chinese traditional massage – moderate pressure is applied to certain acupoints of the body using rotating movements with fingertips; often done in combination with acupuncture
  • Shiatsu massage – a Japanese form of trigger point massage therapy that uses thumbs to massage acupuncture points.
  • Manual lymphatic drainage – encourages natural drainage of waste products from the lymph nodes.
  • Thai massage – involves stretching and pulling the limbs and applying strong, rhythmical pressure to the body with hands, elbows, knees, or feet. Focuses on manipulating “energy lines” (similar to acupuncture meridians) that run throughout the body to treat illnesses.
  • Ayurvedic massage – a traditional form of Indian medicine that involves gently massaging the body using rhythmical stroking movements and herbal oils.

8 Surprising Benefits Of Getting a Massage

If your neck’s all knotted up, it’s no surprise that a massage can make you feel a whole lot better.

But the benefits of a good rubdown may run a little deeper than you may think. Here, 8 surprising ways getting a massage is doing your body good.

Massage Benefit: Fight Off Sickness

The feel-good effects of a massage may extend deep into your body. People who received Swedish massage showed change in their immune system response after the sessions, according to a study out of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

In particular, they experienced a boost in the number of circulating lymphocytes, white blood cells that help fight infection.

Massage Benefit: Ease Back Pain

Chronic low back pain is notoriously hard to treat—and according to new guidelines, you shouldn’t reach for the pills for relief, either, as we reported.

But massage may be a drug-free way to feel better fast. About 50 percent people with chronic low back pain who were given 10 sessions of massage therapy experienced clinically significant improvements in their pain, a study in Pain Medicine found. And the effects were sustained—75 percent who experienced improvements after 12 weeks still showed the benefits at the 24-week mark.

Massage Benefit: Sleep Soundly

People who suffer from back pain tend to have problems sleeping. But massage therapy might help fix that, too.

In University of Miami School of Medicine study of 30 adults with chronic low back pain, those who started 30-minute long massage sessions twice a week for five weeks noted a significant reduction in sleep disturbances, meaning less awakening during the night or trouble falling asleep. Since the massage also reduced the pain, it’s possible that less aches means higher-quality shuteye, the researchers believe.

Massage Benefit: End Exercise Soreness

If a tough workout has you limping, the answer might be on the massage table: People with trap soreness after a hard workout experienced a reduction in soreness intensity after a 10 minutes massage of the affected muscle, according to a studyMassage Benefit: End Exercise Soreness

If a tough workout has you limping, the answer might be on the massage table: People with trap soreness after a hard workout experienced a reduction in soreness intensity after a 10-minute massage of the affected muscle.

Can’t fit in the masseuse after your gym session? Another solution may be just to keep moving: Those who performed “active rest”—in this case, 10 minutes of shoulder shrugs—experienced a similar reduction in soreness.

Can’t fit in the masseuse after your gym session? Another solution may be just to keep moving: Those who performed “active rest”—in this case, 10 minutes of shoulder shrugs—experienced a similar reduction in soreness.

Massage Benefit: Boost Your Mood

It’s not just your imagination—you really do feel better after a massage. And those benefits might extend to people who suffer from depression, too.

After analyzing 17 studies, researchers from Taiwan concluded that massage therapy sessions significantly reduced their depressive symptoms Still, more controlled studies are needed to nail down which massage therapy protocols are most effective, the researchers say.

Massage Benefit: Ease Anxiety

People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) May benefit from a massage, too, a new study from Emory University discovered.

After six weeks of Swedish massage therapy, patients with GAD experienced a significant reductions in scores on the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, which measures feelings of worries, tension, fears, insomnia, dry mouth, and restlessness.