“Move over mom and dad, it’s my turn!”
Many parents are cautious about allowing their small children to use their massage chair. A reasonable concern of any responsible parent. Can a massage chair pose any danger to kids? You’ll be happy to know, children are completely fine to use massage chairs.
Massages can be good for kids experiencing stress, those with autism, or ADHD. There are special conditions where no individual, child or adult, should have a massage. You can find all of those conditions further down in this article.
Massage Chair Safety for Kids
Many massage chairs come with child safety locks/shields that cover the mechanical and electrical components. If you’re model has these features, you should make sure that the child safety locks are working properly and that the shields are installed properly.
The Benefits of Massage Chairs for Children
Remember the days when you were a kid? Think of how stressful things can be. Moving to new schools, going through a divorce, and problems at school can cause a children to experience a significant amount of stress. Stress, as you know, can be detrimental to your health.
Stress has a nasty effect on the body. Have you ever felt bad when you were going through a stressful period in life? That’s because stress can elevate cortisol levels that are harmful to immune cells. When you’re stressed out, your immune system is weakened and you’re more susceptible to illness.
Hospitals Use them to Care for Children
There are actually hospitals in Canada and the US that use massage chairs to help kids who are being nursed back to health. In fact, Nationwide Children’s Hospital has a full-time staff of licensed massage therapists. Check it out on their Family Resource Center page. This proves, massages are great for kids!
Can be Good For Children Who Have:
- Cardiopulmonary – Cystic fibrosis, heart/lung transplant, ECMO, asthma, BPD.
- Children with Diabetes
- Oncology – Childhood cancer, bone marrow transplant, limb salvage.
- Hematology – Sickle Cell disease and bleeding disorders.
- Auto-immune diseases
- Neurology – Migraine headaches, seizures, spinal cord injuries, head injuries.
- Eating disorders – Bulimia, anorexia nervosa, rumination.
- Stress-induced asthma
- Trauma – Spinal cord injuries, brain trauma, burns, orthopedic conditions.
Children with Autism
Some therapists have experimented with massage therapy on children with autism. They say that they actually found these kids to be more relaxed during daily activities so it may be a sign that they improve rehabilitative sessions. It also had a much better fact than other strategies that have been tried in the past.
ADHD & Massage
The Journal of Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry conducted a 6 week study back in 2003. They found that children who received massage therapy were able to control anger better. These kids also showed signs of improved behavior, better sleeping patterns, and improved social interaction. While this is just one study, it does highlight the possibilities of massage therapy on children suffering with unique conditions.
“Massage therapy has been studied in a number of medical and psychiatric illnesses with positive results (American Psychologis, Dec., 1998). A recent study by Field et al 1998, showed massage therapy to decrease fidgeting and improve scores on the Conners Scale (Conners, 1995) in adolescents with ADHD. Massage therapy has also been shown to increase serotonin levels (Field et al 1996, Ironson et al 1996) which might help modulate elevated dopamine levels thought to occur in children with ADHD.”
– Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Situations Where You Should NOT Use a Massage Chair
There are special situations when children/young adults should not use massage chairs. Below is a list of special conditions where kids and adults should not receive massage therapy.
- Individuals suffering from acute neck problems such as whiplash.
- Individuals with irritated or inflamed skin conditions.
- Those with heart conditions.
- Pregnant women. Read Why Pregnant women shouldn’t use massage chairs.
- Individuals with broken bones or spinal fractures.
- Individuals with aneurisms or serious neural or muscular problems.
- Those with low blood pressure. Any type of massage can lower blood pressure so this is important to keep in mind.
- Individuals who have recently had surgery.
- Those with blood clots.
- Inflamed appendix
- Cerebrocardiovascular accident
- Epileptic seizures
- Pneumothorx – when you have air or gas within the chest cavity surrounding the lungs.
- Experience loss of consciousness
- Kidney, respiratory, or liver failure
- Severe hardening of the joints (arthrosclerosis).
- Fevers above 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit
Massage Chairs are Fine for Kids!
So we’ve gone through the benefits of massage chairs as well as special situations where kids shouldn’t use massage chairs. In healthy children, it isn’t a problem and it can actually help them! Some massage chairs allow you to adjust intensity so you might want to lower the pressure when your kids are using it. Aside from that, you have done your homework.
Rest assured mom and dad, your kids are safe to use it!
- Field TM, et al. Adolescents with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder benefit from massage therapy. Adolescent. 1998;33:103–108.
- Kaplan H, Sadock B, Grebb . Kaplan and Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry. 7. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins; 1994.
- International Journal of Neuroscience. 1996;84:205–218.
- “Children and Massage.” MassageTherapy.com. Retrieved 5/28/2014.
- “The Effects of Massage Therapy & Exercise Therapy on Children/Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Barbara Maddigan, M.D., FRCPC, Pamela Hodgson, Registered Massage Therapist. Retrieved 5/28/2014.
- Field TM. Massage therapy for infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behaviour and Development. 1996;19:109–114.
About the Author
Jelani Burton is a sport enthusiast who enjoys leading an active lifestyle. When he’s not watching the game, he’s catching a run quick run on local scenic trails across San Diego.