Massage in children

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Last Medical Review: April 9, 2020
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Luis Alberto Vallejo

Massage in children is an excellent form of stimulation. With the techniques that are applied in the massage in children, the central nervous system of the baby is stimulated and also, it helps the calm of the child, and sensitize it of his body and the parts that conform it.

Child massage is a way to establish and strengthen bonds of love and communication between parents and the baby.

General aspects to apply massage in children

  • Temperature: If the child is less than three months old, it is necessary that the room where the massage is provided be hot or that a warm compress be applied prior to the massage.
  • Position: For the mother or who provides the massage, it is important that you position yourself comfortably either on the floor, bed or stretcher. A good position is with the legs crossed and the baby in the laps. You must also keep the distance, the movement and the correct rhythm.
  • Sliding medium: Can be used: mustard oil because it retains heat; coconut oil for being refreshing or almond oil for its rapid absorption.
  • From zero to three months you have to be careful with the reflexes.
  • For three to six months, pay attention to the tension in the back of the neck or face, if you turn around leave it, you are knowing the environment and it is typical of age.
  • From 7 to 12 months: Massage is a challenge, because the child moves too much and it is difficult to keep it in a position to massage some area.

Massage techniques in children:

The pressure applied should be smooth and slow. A good habit to know what the level of pressure is necessary is to close the eyes and massage the eyelids with the fingertips, so soft should be the massage in the baby.

On the face: Perform smooth and circular movements with your fingertips. Do it on the cheeks, around the eyes, on the forehead and around the mouth. Use gentle caresses behind the neck towards the shoulders.

Arms: Form a circle with your fingers and run the child’s arm through it, from the armpit to the hand. Form eight with your fingertips along the arm path. Do not forget the palms of your hands. Play to cross your arms over your chest.

Legs: Pet the baby’s legs with gentle, upward movements. Play to bring the knees to the chest and do “bike.” Massage your baby’s feet, from the toes to the heels.

Torso: Use clockwise movement over the abdomen area. Draw vertical lines on the back, next to the spine. As much forward as in the back, you can make eights with your fingers over the entire surface and movements outward, that is, from the center to the sides.

Advantages of massage in children

  • Improves the sensitivity of the child.
  • It gives you calm.
  • It improves your digestion.
  • Strengthens the ties between the baby and the parents.
  • Stimulates the central nervous system.
  • It makes you aware of your body and the parts that make it up.
  • It improves concentration.

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