by Michelle Bryant
While teens may be less likely than their parents to go to a massage therapist, there are plenty of reasons why this age group should be encouraged to give it a try. The benefits of massage are well documented, among them relief of muscle tension; lowered stress hormones; an increased sense of relaxation; improved immune function; and even a heightened ability to concentrate.1 But for teenagers, there’s an additional payback.
The teenage body is in the midst of transformation – exponential growth and development in a short period of time. On the physical side, teens may be at increased risk for aches, pains, and injury. Many teens strain their bodies with competitive sports, get erratic sleep, and consume a less-than-optimal diet. Massage can help muscles recover from overuse, and help balance the body and maintain that stability.
Perhaps even more crucial, teen massage can help improve body image and sleep patterns, and contribute to decreased depression, anxiety, and stress. This keeps a teen connected to his or her body, even as it morphs in confounding ways. Bodywork has also been reported to help mediate eating disorders, a growing concern among teens.
Another potential plus: A beneficial, therapeutic relationship can develop between massage therapists and teenagers during the years when adolescents need adult confidantes, but keep parents at a distance. The practitioner can become a supportive, trusted adult in a teen’s life, who can be trusted by parents; and the session itself can be a way to deal with the physical and emotional turmoil of this tender age. M
1 Touch Research Institute, University of Miami School of Medicine
A mother of two, Michelle Bryant is the owner of the San Juan Capistrano-based Massage Associates. To connect with her, visit 31952 Camino (in the Mercado Village), call (949) 489-7924 or visit themassageassociates.com.