Archives for category: Children

Every one of us has been a child. And as children, we all know there are two kinds of adults: There are those who get it, who know how to talk, play, imagine, and explore like a kid. And there are, well, the rest of them. The excruciatingly boring ones, the ones who terrify us into swearing, cross our hearts, that we’ll never turn into that kind of grown up. The kind that sent Peter Pan hightailing it for Neverland as fast as Tinkerbell could take him.

You may be an adult now, one who pays bills and takes vitamins and reads about the things politicians say, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have high-quality, meaningful interactions with the kids in your life, whether they’re your own or simply the kids next door. Here are three places to start:

Ask different questions

Dinner table or car ride conversation is often stunted. Kids are great at one word answers to typical daily questions like “How was your day? Did you learn anything cool in school today?”

And every kid gets the same two questions when they see adults who are not their parents. “How old are you now?” and “How’s school?”

So mix it up! Here are some great conversation starters to ask (and answer) when you’re hanging out with kids.

  • If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
  • If you could, what type of animal would you be?
  • If you could make up a brand new school subject, what would it be?
  • If you could make up a new holiday, what would it be?
  • If you could put frosting on any food in the world what would it be?
  • If you could trade places with anyone for one day, who would it be?
  • If someone wrote an article about you in your school’s newspaper, what would you want them to say?

Exercise together

We can use the word ‘exercise’ loosely here. The key is to move around, get the endorphins flowing, and have fun.

Play the kids your favorite dance song, and let them choose one, too. Race up and down the driveway a few times. Bust out some old-school jumping jacks or a jump rope. Even 5 minutes is enough to get the blood pumping and some giggles happening.

Massage each other

Massage does not have to be a big complex endeavor. It can be quick and easy, and you can do it just about anywhere.  Watch this video together, and practice massaging other. and incorporating stories.

Create your own stories to make it even more fun. This type of anywhere, anytime massage is especially great for kids with anxiety. Try it at bedtime, or in the morning before school, or even in the waiting room at the dentist.

There you have it! Three ways to be the cool adult in your favorite kid’s life!

Get a Professional Massage together!

Really! Couples massages don’t have to be romantic. I work on Parent/Kid couples all the time. It is especially great for those special birthdays! You still get the choices (at least in my office) of:

1. Kid can remain dressed in bathing suit for comfort or disrobe to their comfort level.
2. Couples massage with two therapists present
Both of ya getting a massage at the same time side by side, in the same room
3. Couples massage with one therapist present
One of you getting a massage while the other enjoys a relaxing foot bath or just observes from the chair in the corner.

With this time of couples massage, the idea is to introduce massage to the kids at a young age, educating them on positive touch and bringing awareness to how wonderful their body can be in a safe and trusted environment. It can be as extravagant (cucumbers on the eyes and warm moist towels) or as simple as you want it to be. SIDENOTE: State of Alabama recognizes the Legal Medical Age of consent to be 14. Young, I know. But at that age, they can choose to have a parent present or not. Children younger than that, it is my policy to require that a parent be present at all times. This is for the benefit of the child as well as to allow a parent to intercede if necessary. Juvenile massage time does not mean free babysitter so the parent can go run an errand, Sorry, and sorry it has to be said.

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cancerFamilies are in the trenches fighting cancer every day. If cancer hasn’t crossed your path,
whether directly or through a loved one, consider yourself lucky. It’s easy to feel helpless when friends and people close to you are struggling. Since September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I’m going to give you some simple things you can do to help those who are facing the dreaded “C” word.

Do. Don’t ask.

It’s easy to say, “let me know if you need anything.” What the family needs is someone to say, “hey, I’m making you dinner.” Or “I’m babysitting – just tell me what day (or night).” Don’t give them the burden of asking. Just offer it.

Gift cards go a long way.

Treatments can sometimes take a patient and family far from home. Do a little research and purchase gift cards for restaurants, hotel chains and gas stations near the hospital they are using. A gift subscription to Amazon Prime or Netflix may be helpful to someone who is bedridden. Some downtime and low key entertainment might be just what they need. And, of course, a massage gift certificate is a perfect way to care for the care givers or the individual.

Remember the siblings.

Cancer affects the entire family. Siblings often are trying to navigate many emotions like fear and jealousy. Commit to a sibling and offer to be there for them. Be a friend. Be someone they can lean on and talk to. If you send the cancer patient a gift, make sure you give them someone of equal to the sibling and include them.

Show up

Shortly after diagnosis, a family will receive calls, cards, and meals. Anything to help soothe the heartbreaking news. After time, these things fade away and the family is still traveling the long road. It could be months or even years. It’s a financial and emotional weight. Keep them in mind and reach out well after the dust settles.

It’s hard to know what to say to a family that’s struggling with cancer. But don’t disappear. Meet them where they are. Sometimes there are no words. Just be present.  Reach out and enlist the help of others to send cards, letters and other nice/silly/fun things that will brighten the family’s day. Even an “I’ve been thinking of you” text speaks volumes.

These tips might not seem like much, but it can mean the world to a family facing cancer. Long days and sleepless nights can be an endless cycle. Little gestures of kindness can bring the family loads comfort.

I’ve come up with 19 potential injuries that can happen due to playing Pokemon Go. While some are due to repetitive actions that are common in the tech world, some are due to people not paying attention, people suddenly getting active after being mostly sedentary, and others just from being active in and of itself. I’m not saying you are going to get all of these or even if you are going to get any of these, but it’s good to be aware of things that massage therapy can either prevent, or assist in healing in the long run.

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome: This is the girl using cell phoneswelling inside a narrow “tunnel” formed by bone and ligament in the wrist. The tunnel surrounds nerves that conduct sensory and motor impulses to and from the hand, leading to pain, tingling, and numbness.
  2. Cubital tunnel syndrome: Similar to Carpal tunnel syndrome, the symptoms include numbness and tingling in the ring and small finger and soreness in the inside of the elbow or forearm.
  3. Tenis Elbow: This is actually tendinitis or swelling of the tendons that causes pain in the elbow and arm and is caused by repetitive movements.
  4. Texting Thumb: This can be either trigger thumb, the constriction of a flexor tendon in the thumb caused by repetitive gripping motions with symptoms that include a painful popping or snapping when the thumb bends and straightens; sometimes the thumb even becomes locked in a curled position. Or it could also be something as simple as arthritis of the joint where the thumb joins the wrist.
  5. iPad/iPhone Hand: This is caused by holding a device in the same position and repeating the same motions over and over again, this type of repetitive strain injury sometimes must be fixed with surgery due to the damage done to tendons, ligaments or muscles.
  6. Photosensitive seizures: Many games and devices contain certain light flashing patterns that can trigger seizures in people with epilepsy.
  7. Computer Vision Syndrome: These are eye problems that result from prolonged digital device use(computers and any other back lit screen). Most commonly, people experience eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision and dry eyes.
  8. Palmar hydradenitis: This is the the formation of painful lesions on the palms of the hand from holding a device for extended periods of time with a tight grip.
  9. Bible Bump: Also known as ganglion cyst, this is a swelling or lump in the wrist resulting from jelly-like substance that has leaked from a joint or tendon sheath. It is called a Bible Bump because of the history of banging it with the largest flattest object in the house to make it go away, and that was usually the family Bible.
  10. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: This is a condition characterized by dry, swollen hands and loss of muscle control; consistently painful, it is usually caused by acute injury.
  11. Tendinitis: This can occur anywhere in the body, it is a tearing and inflammation of tendons connecting bones to muscles.
  12. Shin Splints: Your shins have to bear up to 6 times your weight while you exercise, so foot-pounding activities like walking can cause problems for the muscles and surrounding tissues and create inflammation. The strain and leg pain results from strong calves pulling repeatedly on weaker muscles near the shin.
  13. Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fascia is the band of tissue that runs from your heel bone to the ball of your foot. When this dual-purpose shock absorber and arch support is strained, small tears develop and the tissue stiffens as a protective response, causing foot pain.
  14. Bunions: A bunion develops when the bones in the joint on the outer side of the big or little toe become misaligned, forming a painful swelling. Walkers with flat feet, low arches, or arthritis may be more apt to develop bunions.
  15. Low Back Pain: Walking doesn’t usually cause lower-back pain, but the repetitive movement can make an existing lower-back injury worse.
  16. Morton’s Neuroma: If tissue surrounding a nerve near the base of the toes thickens, it can cause tingling, numbness, or pain that radiates to surrounding areas. It may feel as though you’re treading on a marble.
  17. Bursitis: Although there are many potential causes of hip pain, it’s common for the fluid-filled sacs (bursae) that cushion the hip joint to become inflamed with repetitive stress. People with one leg slightly longer than the other are more susceptible to this kind of hip pain. Too much walking without building up to it can also be a cause.
  18. Runner’s Knee: Every time your shoe strikes the ground, your knee feels it. Eventually, your kneecap may start to rub against your femur (the bone that connects your knee to your hip), causing cartilage damage and tendinitis.
  19. Stress Fracture: Tenderness or pain when you press on a specific spot on your foot or lower leg, you may have a stress fracture—a tiny crack in a bone. Most common in the lower leg, they happen when your leg muscles become overloaded from repetitive stress because the shock is absorbed by the bone, rather than the muscle. This can occur if you ignore a shin splint, for instance, because the continued strain on muscles and tissues will eventually shift to the bone.

And these don’t even begin to address the issues of not watching where you are going, not paying attention and stepping in a hole to twist and ankle, tripping over something, running into something, or walking into an unsafe area.

Please be responsible, pay attention, and if you do end up with an injury that can be addressed by massage, give me a shout, I’ll be glad to let you hunt pokemon around my office between sessions. 😛

teen massageAdolescence is a unique stage of life. In between childhood and adulthood, teens go through massive changes on both a physiological and a psychological level. Naturally, this means that teens also have unique health and wellness issues. While nothing replaces regular physical exams with a physician and an active lifestyle, massage therapy can be a valuable component of a teen’s health and wellness. Here are three different issues often occurring during adolescence that massage has been shown to help:

     1. Poor body image and eating disorders.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 3% of American teens suffer from an eating disorder, and the majority of them go untreated. Depression, social pressures regarding appearance, and participation in sports where leanness is valued (such as gymnastics, wrestling, and diving), are all associated with the development of eating disorders. Needless to say, high school provides ample opportunity for all of these.

Studies done at the Touch Research Institute with women who struggle with either anorexia nervosa or bulimia showed that regular massage decreased anxiety levels, increased levels of the feel-good hormone dopamine, and reduced depression scores. Participants in the study also showed better scores on the Eating Disorder Inventory, indicating better body awareness. While counseling is obviously of paramount importance, massage therapy can be a powerful adjunct to other forms of treatment for eating disorders.

     2. Testing Stress and Anxiety

 

There is not a subject in school that doesn’t require testing of some kind and that isn’t even counting state and college prep testing. Some people test better than others. For those who test badly, tests can cause much stress and anxiety. By scheduling a massage prior to testing, the student can start the day off with less stress and anxiety allowing the blood to flow better to the brain and increasing the chance of remembering what was studied as well as better the chance of successfully acing that test. By scheduling a massage after a test, you can reward good behavior and give the student something to look forward to! Win win all around.

     3. PMS and menstrual pain.

What’s worse than menstrual problems? Menstrual problems when you’re a teenager. Between the irregular cycles, the inexperience with managing symptoms, and the embarrassment about getting help, adolescence can be a rough time to have a uterus. Effective treatments like hormonal birth control can have negative social connotations, and require a pelvic exam to obtain, a procedure that most teen girls have yet to experience and may wish to avoid.

Massage therapy has been shown to help with pain, anxiety, and feelings of depression related to PMS, as well as other symptoms like water retention. Girls can also benefit from learning self-massage techniques to use when experiencing menstrual cramps on a day-to-day basis.

As a Fertility Massage Therapist, part of my training is to help minimize menstrual pain and teach others how to manage it on their own. what better time to start that than when menstruation first starts instead of waiting until it is a huge problem later.

Athletic injuries.

While high school athletes are injured at around the same rate as professional athletes, their growing bodies mean that they’re often injured in different ways. Since bones grow before muscles and tendons do, youth are more susceptible to muscle, tendon, and growth plate injuries. Sprains, strains, growth plate injuries, repetitive motion injuries, and heat-related illness  are among the most common injuries among young athletes. Boys are most likely to experience athletic injuries while running track, playing tennis, rugby and soccer, while soccer, tennis, basketball and gymnastics lead to the most injuries in girls.

Sports massage has a long history, and can be especially effective when dealing with repetitive motion injuries like tennis elbow and runner’s knee. Massage therapists are now found at every kind of sporting event, from the Olympics all the way down to your local 5 or 10K. Given that teen athletes can be more vulnerable to injury and overuse than their adult counterparts, it makes sense to offer them the same opportunities for healing and pain relief.

Do you know a teen who could use a massage?

Juvenile-Arthritis-Kids

Arthritis isn’t just one disorder. It’s a complicated set of musculoskeletal disorders made up from over 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. The symptoms cause pain, limit movement, and can halt an otherwise active person’s life.

In the US, almost 300,000 of those affected by arthritis are kids. Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a broad way to describe a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. We don’t know yet why it strikes, and it can appear in many different ways.

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month, and I’m taking this opportunity to learn more and share more about JA. Here are five things I didn’t know, and I bet you don’t know them either.

Children Can Be Diagnosed With Arthritis

When we hear the word arthritis we often think of adults with stiff joints, not children and teenagers. Stiff joints, pain, and swelling for more than 6 weeks are associated with arthritis. Eyes, skin, and the gastrointestinal tract can also be affected in children. It is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the body is attacking itself instead of a foreign body such as a virus. If your child or teen seems to always have a tummy ache and complains of joint pain it could be a good idea to visit your doctor for a chat.

There is No Known Cause

Parents of children with a JA diagnosis will ask the question, “What caused this?” Unfortunately the answer is usually, “We don’t know for sure.” Researchers are looking at genetic and environmental factors which may contribute to the development of JA, but they have found no specific cause. There isn’t one single blood test to diagnose. Studies are trying to determine if siblings of children with JA will also develop symptoms.

Common Signs of Juvenile Arthritis

Complaints of painful knees, hands, feet, neck, or jaw common symptoms. This pain is common first thing in the morning or upon waking from naps. Arthritis pain tends to appear slowly, not suddenly like an injury.

Stiffness in the joints is another sign of arthritis. Usually the stiffness will be worse in the morning but improve with movement throughout the day. Some children may stop doing certain things. Has your toddler stopped using utensils to eat when he has been wielding a fork for months? See if you can determine if he’s in pain or just exploring with his fingers.

Swelling of a joint or joints is a strong sign a child might need an evaluation. The joint may be hot to the touch, as well. Often a child with JA will develop fevers with fatigue but no other symptoms of illness.

Treatments for Juvenile Arthritis

Even though there is no cure for JA, doctors will have a treatment plan for each patient. Treatments may include medication, physical therapy, nutrition, and eye care. One patient may respond well with medication while others may do better with movement or physical therapy. The whole family will work together in an effort to maintain normalcy for the patient. Adjustments to schedules may happen, but there’s no need to quit living life altogether.

Massage as a Treatment

We all know massage feels great on sore muscles, but can it help with the stiffness of arthritis? Maybe! We know massage can have a positive effect on blood pressure and anxiety. A study at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey looked at people with osteoarthritis of the knee. The people who received a Swedish (or relaxation) massage twice a week for 8 weeks reported improvement in pain levels and function.

Massage for children and teens can be beneficial in many ways. Regular massage helps manage painful symptoms and can help improve self-awareness, self-image, and self-confidence. Parents can even work with a massage therapist to learn soothing techniques to apply at home. Massage for arthritis is usually gentle and soothing with a warm touch, perfect for use by any parent trying to help his or her child.  If you have any questions or would like to schedule a massage for your child (or yourself!) you can always contact me.
With this list of signs you may learn how to spot the signs of something more serious than a case of the childhood “I don’t want-tos.” Chronic pain is no fun, but it can be harder to deal with if no one knows it’s happening. Juvenile arthritis is a real issue with real symptoms. If spotted and treated early, it doesn’t have to mean an end to the active life your child deserves.