1. Kids get stressed too
Short Answer: Although it isn’t the same kind of stress that adults face, kids are also dealing with a lot; Peer Pressure, school work, social media, activities, growing pains, and more. Life isn’t always easy for them either!
More details: Everyone from newborn babies to the elderly have stress - it all just comes in different forms. Nonetheless, stress has many of the same effects on the body regardless of where it comes from and what age the person is: tight muscles, the release of "fight or flight" hormones, restlessness, and inability to focus. Massage can help calm these effects of stress and help kids with things such as anxiety, focus, and other ways that stress affects their lives.
2. May help enhance sports and prevent injuries
Short answer: Kids play hard, and want to do their best. Growing muscles can take a beating, so massage can help keep those muscles loose and help the ones that get used most from getting overworked and easily injured.
More details: Soccer players use their legs and lower bodies a lot. Volleyball, basketball pagers jump putting stress on the knees, ankles, and calves. Baseball players are constantly twisting their upper bodies, arms, and elbows. Dancers, figure skaters, and gymnasts - don't get me started, we don't have enough space. Point is, that massage can help keep those overworked muscles soft and that in turn keeps their bones aligned and ligaments healthy so that they are less likely to get injured, overworked, or burned out. Additionally, since massage increases circulation and flexibility, it can help enhance how the muscles work and enhance the movements needed for that particular sport by making the body more more strong and easily.
3. Parents should plan to stick around during the appointment
Short answer: Since a child is a minor, a parent will need to not only fill out some initial standard paperwork before a massage, plus they will need to stay in the room with the child during the massage. This is both for legal reasons in many states, as well as safety for both the child and the therapist.
More details: Many states have laws requiring parents to remain with their children in certain medical situation, wether it is a doctor's office, or any other type of procedure. Massage is no different. A minor can not legally fill out health paperwork or know all of their medical history, surgeries, or allergies so a parent needs to do that. During the massage, it is not only legally required, but also a good idea for parents to be able to observe what is going on in the massage session, and be ready to speak up if the therapist has any questions and the child may not feel comfortable or knowledgeable enough to answer them.
4. Kids are not just small adults, so their massages should reflect that
Short answer: Even though the basic bone and muscle structure of a child is very similar to an adult, it isn’t the same, so the massage should be a little different, especially in terms of pressure, and the awareness that a child may not be comfortable having some parts worked on, so communication is very important.
More details: When I work on a child, I will ask the parent the majority of questions before we start, but I will also do some things for the child that I don't do for adults. I will usually ask them directly about their activities, or if they play any sports, and if they have any body parts that hurt more than others. Then I will not only tell them what I want them to do as far as disrobing, getting on the table, etc, but I also explain to them why I am asking them to do that. During the massage I gently explain what I'm doing such as uncovering and moving different body parts or doing a stretch, and I check in about pressure more frequently than I do with adults. I always use age-appropriate language so the child doesn't get confused or tune me out, plus I want the parent to 100% know and be aware of what I'm doing, so if they ask any questions or make any comments, I am aware of and attentive to those as well. That all being said, there are some therapists that may not be comfortable working on children, and some spas or locations that will not allow children to be worked on for liability reasons, so do not be afraid to reach out to a therapist beforehand and ask about their comfort and experience in working on children, and how they would go about it as far as what they would do differently with a child versus an adult.