Here is an older blog I had on Massage and Bodywork Professionals. I found the librarian/touch study on an adoption website a long time when researching touch and adoption. We will begin selling an eBook on the benefits of pediatric massage therapy soon on our massage CEU website.
When I took my daughter to the library for story time a favorite massage research project came to mind. Many of you may have already heard it, but it always reminds me about the simplicity of massage and touch when I start making massage therapy too complicated.
Librarians were instructed alternately to touch and not touch the hands of students as they handed back their library cards Then the students were interviewed. Those who had been touched reported far greater positive feelings about themselves, the library, and the librarians than those who had not been touched.
This occurred even though the touch was fleeting and the students did not even remember it!*
Pediatric massage was without a doubt one of my first interests within the world of massage therapy. Today it still fascinates me. Most massage therapists, including myself, are busy aiming our focus on other populations who need touch and massage: the elderly, stressed parents, the infirm, and infants. However, I want to bring attention to another under-served population – children. I know most practitioners do not routinely work on children in their practice, which is fine. Often we leave the responsibility of massage to parents. Infant massage classes are great, but few parents take them soon enough. Parents who do take infant massage courses may not know whether they should continue with massage as their children grow up. Today, children are growing up in a world with wildly a distorted view of touch. Schools are enacting “No Touch” policies (no high-fives, pats on-the back, or hugs). Bullying and sexual abuse are terrible and absolute tragedies children experience, but they are no reason we should exclude kids from the learning about healthy touch and experiencing benefits of massage. We need to promote the importance of massage and healthy touch for children to our clients. Consider hosting a class on massage for children in your office, having books on massage for children for parents to borrow, or including information and tips about the benefits of massage for their children in a client newsletter. These simple steps can help children all over the country thrive and grow.
As my daughter grabbed her craft off the board, the librarian patted her on the head. I saw my daughter look up and smile. I doubt Kristi the librarian knows the impact she made, but I was grateful to witness that special moment.
Ivy Hultquist, L.M.T.
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