"Every child, no matter the age, should be massaged at bedtime on a regular basis.” So says Tiffany Field, PhD, of the Touch Research Institute (TRI) in Miami, Florida. Field and her associates at TRI have worked diligently over the past decade to prove the benefits of massage for children. But this is not a new concept. Infant massage has long been a common practice in many cultures. Many indigenous tribes use some form of bodywork to soothe, relax, and heal their little ones, sometimes including scented oils and herbal remedies as part of the experience.
Vimala McClure first recognized the value of massage for babies when she was working in an orphanage in India in the early 1970s. Babies with few other advantages in this world were lulled into sleep each night with a massage before bedtime.
In today’s world, even healthy children are vulnerable to common allergies, illnesses, and viruses, and, more often than not, antibiotics are used to treat them—a practice that can lead to overuse. Bacteria can become resistant to antibiotics when they are over-prescribed, leaving these children susceptible to stronger, more resistant bugs.
Most of us know that meditation is an opportunity to slow down and take a few deep breaths. But, with young kids, how do you find meditation time? Encourage your children to meditate with you. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care, meditation can benefit children by promoting a sense of “well-being, calmness, relaxation, [and] improved sleep.”1
For three decades, educators, therapists, and movement facilitators have been utilizing a powerfully simple tool to break through cognitive barriers. Its success in restoring optimal learning potential through movement relies on creating a truly integrated mind/body dynamic. The process is called Brain Gym, a sort of gymnastics for the brain, and it’s changing how young minds learn.
For both parent and practitioner, there’s often no greater frustration than being unable to soothe a child’s pain, especially an infant. A 1-year-old child’s cries tell us so much, and yet so little. Body language is often the biggest clue as to what ails him. And while Tiffany Field, a researcher at Miami’s Touch Research Institute, and others have scientifically proven that massage can provide great comfort to a young child, touch can be an even stronger therapeutic tool when combined with aromatherapy.
You already know about the power of massage and may even have exposed your children to its gentle ways. Maybe you’ve been educated in infant massage yourself so as to offer touch to your child when it can be most effective — after baths, before bedtime, or when cradling your colicky baby in the middle of the night. Or maybe you take your pre-teen to the spa with you for a day of rejuvenating bodywork. So you know massage has incredible soothing power, but have you ever considered energy medicine for your child?
Kids who meditate are happier, have higher self-esteem, get along better with other students and cope with stress more effectively than students who don’t meditate, suggests Rita Benn, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Michigan. Aged 10 to 14, the Detroit students of Nataki Talibah Schoolhouse practice non-religious transcendental meditation (TM) for 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon to reduce stress — a growing concern for parents and child psychologists who note that kids are dealing with more pressure than ever.