Finger Lakes School of Massage

Massage Therapy Provides Beneficial Effects to Children with FASD

Studies prove that massaging children facilitates weight gain, and decrease stress, among many others benefits.


Ithaca, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 04/14/2014 -- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a lifetime disability caused by confirmed maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. A research done by Chudley et al. in 2005 reported that persons afflicted can show various features, “from severe growth restriction, mental retardation, birth defects, and characteristic dysmorphic facial features, to normal growth, facial features, and intellectual abilities.” There are three diagnoses within the spectrum, namely: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), partial FAS, and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND). Moreover, Chudley et al. stated that while there is no cure, people with FASD can lead happy and productive lives with the right support, approaches, and services.

Research studies of pediatric and infant massage therapy proved to assist in both growth and developmental issues which are keys to the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). The use of massage therapy for premature infants proved beneficial, as the infants who received the therapeutic intervention gained weight. The researchers also found out that the massaged infants, when followed up to the first year, had a weight advantage. The toddlers placed 12 to 15 points higher on the mental and motor tests of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, as compared to those who were not massaged. These results were also manifested by at least two other groups of researchers.

In another study, full-term, healthy 1 to 3-month-old babies were given 15 minutes of either massage or rocking for 12 days on a 6-week period. The group found out that babies who were massaged gained more weight, showed better face-to-face interactions, improved on emotionality, sociability and soothability, exhibited few stress hormones and increased serotonin levels.

Many children with FASD have sleep issues. Massage may not only help a child fall asleep faster, but can also improve the quality of deep sleep. Sufficient amounts of sleep can help a child’s mood, behavior, and may even lessen hyperactivity. Children and adolescents with FASD may also have attention issues. Studies illustrate that massage boosts mental focus and concentration.

According to Tina Allen, founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation, it is necessary to understand the child who may benefit from a massage therapy and what the indications may be, while research is continuing with both FASD and massage treatment. Allen also mentioned that practitioners should set aside some time to conclude a detailed intake. She also pointed out that while having a safe surrounding can be beneficial to all clients, the case may not be the same for children with FASD. Allen emphasized that these children need, “an environment which is not over stimulating to other senses.” She also divulged that it is important for a practitioner to take the time and progress gradually when introducing touch therapy, “as children may experience sensory processing difficulties and may be hypo or hyper sensitive to touch. She concluded that children affected by FASD may see certain improvements following the intervention of pediatric massage therapy.

About Finger Lakes School of Massage (FLSM)
FLSM offers a unique opportunity for massage therapy training in Ithaca and Mount Kisco, New York. Its mission is to prepare students for a career in Therapeutic Massage and Hydrotherapy with the capacity to provide leadership and vision in the profession by providing excellence in education in an atmosphere of joy, curiosity, respect and discovery, honoring scientific and intuitive approaches to the art of massage and motivating students to acquire and enhance skills to realize their full potential, thus developing capable graduates to meet the demands of the professional massage community.