Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissue in order to release tension, improve blood flow to different parts of the body, stimulate the lymph gland to release toxins as well as boost the production of the body’s natural painkillers, also known as endorphins.
Massage therapy has been in use for thousands of years. It is ideal for individuals with cerebral palsy since it works to improve health in a natural manner. At the same time, body contact can help bridge the psychological gap that leaves many children with CP feeling isolated from the rest of the world.
Key benefits of massage therapy, especially for children with CP.
- Massage helps with the pain associated with CP since it helps the brain release pain-killing endorphins. It may also dislodge fibrous tissues that may be holding muscles together, leading to ease of movement and a lowered pain levels when moving around.
- Massage can also help with toning the digestive system by stimulating the movement of food though the gut. It can resolve excess gas and bloating issues common with children who have CP, and it can stimulate liver activity as well as relieve constipation, leading to better nutrient assimilation by the body.
- With regard to the integumentary system (the body’s skin), massage can help with good skin texture and tone, removing pathogens that may cause skin infections, enhancing tissue repair and even reducing the appearance of scar tissue.
- Since cerebral palsy affects the body’s musculature, massage can help enhance range of motion, flexibility, muscle tone, balance, posture, reduction in the thickening of connective tissue and stimulating sensory neurons, helping to awaken tactile sensations.
For the most part, massage is done with the help of oils and a variety of tools which make the whole process easier for the masseuse and recipient. Aromatherapy essential oils such as lavender and bergamot are said to help release tension when inhaled. Background music or environment sounds help set the mood, transporting the individual receiving the massage to a different place in their mind. Hot or cold packs help release any tension or pain by contracting or relaxing muscle groups.