Massage for the young and old...
I was recently talking to another mum (and friend of mine -I know her through Ethan's school) who lost her mother this year due to unfortunate circumstances. She mentioned that her dad, 72 yrs, is trying to cope with the loneliness of now living by himself. What struck me was when she said how her dad misses the affection; the day-to-day hugs and cuddles he was used to receiving by his (late) wife. She said he is a very 'touchy-feely' person. That got me thinking of how touch is crucial for babies development - without touch, babies will die. Touch is crucial for the health, wellbeing, psychological and physiological development of babies and children. Studies have shown, how in extreme circumstances eg amongst many orphanages around the world, how lack of touch can have a devastating effect on human beings; babies have died or their growth has been stunted.
Massage is for everyone... young and old! Why stop when your baby grows to a toddler and older child? Although babies do go through a stage (the older toddler phase, anywhere from 10 months to 18 months) when trying to offer a massage becomes very tricky (due to their natural development and being very inquisitive; always on the go!), it is important to always offer your child massage - they will eventually come back to wanting a massage! My 8 year old is proof of this. The key is to adapt the infant massage techniques to suit your growing child. You learn how to adapt infant massage for older children in the Idibidi Kids Massage 4 session course www.kidsmassage.com.au/4sessioncourse.htm
Touch is a basic human necessity. Some adults love recieving a massage, whether that be by a qualified massage therapist or even a quick shoulder massage by a loved one. Others do not. This may due to a number of reasons. Touch sensitivity quite often begins in infancy or early childhood. Several reasons may include (courteousy M.I.S.P)
* a difficult labour
* being born prematurely
* experiencing painful medical procedures
* being extremely physically sensitive
* painful or abusive forms of touch (and not recieving nurturing, positive touch by a parent/family member)
* any accident to a particular part of the body
Therefore, before you consider offering a massage or loving touch to your child, friend or family member, it is always important to ask permission first! Otherwise you may be invading their personal space (and this is very disrespectful).
At the other end of the spectrum (referring to the beginning of this post regarding my friend's dad), elderly people are no exception to recieving a massage, or loving touch. Nurturing, loving touch is very reassuring and calming; essential for our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. Recieving nurturing, positve touch reduces our stress hormones, can enhance our emotions and improve our mood and also help with sleep. In particular, for the elderly, massage can assist with relieving many conditions experienced with age, such as arthritis and muscle deterioration (ref:Babies and Baby Boomers Embrace Massage Therapy
AAMT media release 2007).
Quote for the day -
"Once someone touches your heart, the fingerprints last forever."