Pediatric Oncology Massage Therapy
(Cancer Care for Pediatric Clients)
Excerpts from Marybetts Sinclair, LMT (Pediatric Massage Therapy) and Tina Allen, LMT, CPMT, Founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation (Nurturing Touch for the Growing Child) for the information noted below.
Being diagnosed with cancer is both a major stress and a major challenge to children, which can include physical discomfort or pain, prolonged immobilization and a loss of the sense of body intactness caused by a disability. Medical regimens, such as dietary restrictions, limitation of activities, medication side effects and painful or invasive medical procedures all may cause additional stress. Insomnia, anxiety and depression are common manifestations of stress. Family members are also under enormous strain as well and may experience feelings of fear, helplessness, guilt and anger.
Gentle, individualized Swedish massage can address the needs of children who are very ill. Massage therapy may be able to help with (1) specific physical distress, such as pain, nausea and discomfort from being immobilized and (2) psychological distress, such as anxiety, lack of stimulation, insomnia and feelings of isolation.
Research Benefits: Massage for Children/Touch Research Institute
Leukemia - Twenty children with leukemia were provided with daily massage therapy by their parents and were compared to a standard treatment control group. Following a month of massage therapy, depressed mood decreasesd in the children's parents and the children's white blood cell and neutrophil counts increased.
Field, T., Cullen. C., Diego, M., Hernandez-Reif, M., Springz, P., Beebe, K., Kissel, B. & Bango-Sanchez, V. (2001). Leukemia immune changes following massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 3, 1-5.