How Massage Can Help Pediatric Down Syndrome

Copyright © 2013 Liddle Kidz Foundation Infant and Children’s Pediatric Massage

Inside our nucleus we carry 23 pairs of chromosomes with half being inherited by each of our parents. This nucleus is part of our cell makeup, and inside the cells is our genetic material called genes. Genes are arranged on a rod type structure called a chromosome and carry all of our inherited traits. When someone has a full or partial extra copy of Chromosome 21 this individual will have Down Syndrome.

The National Down Syndrome Society states; “One in every 691 babies in the the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common genetic condition.” The statistics are staggering especially taking into account that there are more than 400,000 Americans living with Down syndrome in the United States currently. People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions especially as children, the use of diverse methods of treatment are encouraged. Massage is one type of additional therapy that is gaining popularity with many peer-reviewed and scientific studies showing the benefits of massage for children with Down syndrome.

In a five month study, researchers found that “significant, lasting improvement in motor skills” were found in groups of children with DS who were massaged by trainers as well as parents. Additionally “an unanticipated consequence” was an unexpected jump in language skill for children with DS. In order to measure the impact of massage therapy as a low income therapy for children with exceptionalities a study was set up based around parents being trained to massage their children. With the results it is easy to see that massage is a viable and evidence backed option in management for Down Syndrome.

Another study found similarly exciting results, twenty-one young children (average age, two years) with DS receiving early intervention (physical therapy, occupational therapy or speech therapy) were chosen for two months of a ½ hour reading activity or ½ hour massage. The children were assessed for development and muscle tone on the first and last day of the study. By the end of the two month study the massage group produced “larger gains in fine and gross motor functioning and less severe limb hypotonicity” than children in the reading group.

With many healthcare providers, such as Massage Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Nurses and Physicians, becoming certified in pediatric touch therapies it is easier and easier to find a professional to assist in adding these benefits to a child’s care plan. Additionally pediatric massage parent training classes are available to ensure that parents become as educated on the massage therapy plan as the healthcare provider.

Looking for expert advice and tips to help improve your child’s health? Find evidence answers to all your questions about infant massage and pediatric massage therapy with Pediatric Massage Master Teacher, Tina Allen, founder of leading children’s health and nurturing touch organization Liddle Kidz Foundation.

How Massage Can Help Pediatric Down Syndrome