Why should my kid(s) get a massage? This is a common question for parents today especially now that school is back in session and their children are stressed out from assignments, homework, projects, extracurricular activities, etc. Children, whether they are working mentally by studying or physically by being active, participating in sports, or even carrying around a heavy backpack, can get worn out just like adults and therefore need the benefits of massage too.
Now that school is back to some sense of normalcy, one of the major things that needs to be emphasized is that backpacks, although fashionable and convenient, can become too heavy when loaded with books, tablets, and necessary supplies. How heavy is too heavy? Studies have shown that backpacks shouldn’t be more then 10-20% of a child’s body weight and the reason for this is that anything over that causes the child’s posture to suffer. When struggling under a heavy load, children are more likely to adjust their posture in order to carry it evenly, more so than adults due to their developing physique, at the expense of putting themselves in a compromising position. Over time their body will begin to think that this new position is “normal”, which leads to what is referred to as skeletal memory. Much like muscle memory, skeletal memory becomes very difficult to correct and retrain once the child develops something that took time to create. This can also be called “learned bad habits” due to the strain backpacks put on a child’s neck, shoulders and spine.
Massage not only can benefit children who have poor posture but also those that suffer from injuries related to playing athletics or from the repetitive strain from playing sports year-round. Being active is necessary and wonderful, but injuries do happen, whether it’s from Jimmy getting tackled hard on the football field or from overworked muscles caused by repetitive movement. Massage can help alleviate the pain and muscle spasms from physical injury, but it is always recommended to see a medical professional beforehand to rule out more serious injuries.
Lastly, mental health problems from the stress of being a kid in 2021 can have the same effect as it does on adults. For instance, children can mentally check out or burnout easily with all the homework and school projects assigned to them. Or the pressure of performing at a high level associated with competitive sports can slowly wear out a young athlete. Getting a chance to relax is just as important to children as well as adults. It is well established that massage can have immediate and lasting benefits when it comes to the mental health strain placed on both adults and children.
Fun Fact: Flow is the mental state in which a person is completely absorbed in an activity, resulting in a loss of their sense of space and time. This leads to muscles tightening due to the lack of necessary rest and recovery. Making sure that kids, no matter their activity level, get at least eight hours of sleep and the needed “time off” away from their activities is just as important as their “time on” playing.