Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: April 2019

How to massage your hyperactive child, and why you should!


Here, I massage my hyperactive six-year-old, Sienna. My goal is to give you ideas and inspiration that you can use for massaging your own children. If you saw my previous child massage videos, you know that massaging a young child looks very different from what you would expect to see with adult massage. A child will rarely be content to lie still while you massage them. That's okay. What's important is that they are receiving nurturing touch, and that you are strengthening your bond with your child. Let it be playful, silly, and fun for you both!

Research has shown that children who are massaged regularly are happier, calmer, less aggressive, sleep better, have improved respiratory function, have increased body awareness, and establish healthy boundaries. Massage also stimulates a child's motor and cognitive development. For hyperactive kids like mine, research has shown that massage increases mental focus and concentration.

Story massages work well with younger kids. I make up stories about whatever book or show Sienna is into at the time. In my last child massage video, she was obsessed with My Little Pony. In this video, it's all about Pocoyo, a children's cartoon.

It's important to massage your children regularly. Always ask permission before massaging your child, and let them know that they are in control and can stop the massage at any time. For a younger child, it's best to keep the massage to 15 minutes or less. Hyperactive kids may tolerate shorter, but more frequent sessions.

The best medicine is ... people?

Do you ever have periods in your life that seem fraught with negativity? Periods when you encounter a stressful event, and then barely have a chance to recover before the next stressor erupts? I think we all do. This is what has happened to me over the past several weeks. But I can handle that, right? Aren't I the one who preaches about self care and wellness? Haven't I written a bazillion articles and posted a hundred youtube videos on how to manage stress and anxiety? Shouldn't I be able to combat my stress like a pro? Perhaps. Then again, perhaps not.

I tried to counteract the effects of stress in my life by meditating, getting plenty of rest, listening to self-help audiobooks, stretching, reading, and practicing gratitude. What do all of these strategies have in common? Solitude.

After a few particularly difficult days, I felt myself struggling to remain afloat. My self help strategies were proving useless. It was Sunday night, and I was feeling angry, defeated, and exhausted. My husband, bless his soul, had arranged for his mother to watch Sienna while we went out to dinner with his friends from out of town, whom I had never met. I almost said "no." I didn't want to embarrass Jesse by being a grump all through dinner. But I decided to give it a go. After all, it's not often that we get to eat out these days.

At dinner, I ended up chatting for about two hours with a woman I'd just met. As I left the restaurant, I noticed I felt lighter. Somehow, life didn't seem so dismal. I saw possibilities where there had been road blocks. I felt optimism and hope. This new outlook changed the way I approached my husband and my daughter. I had more patience and compassion. All this, just from getting out and talking with someone for a little while.

Other people! Here was the missing ingredient in my self care regimen. When we're struggling, it's so easy to retreat into a bubble of isolation. When there's a problem, my instinct is to take care of it by myself. It often doesn't even occur to me to reach out for help. But we're not meant to go through life on our own. We are inherently social beings. Social isolation and loneliness lead to all kinds of health impairments, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and dementia.

You don't have to go it alone, nor should you. Reach out to someone you trust and get coffee or go for a walk, or even just chat over the phone. It makes all the difference. So ... are you doing anything this weekend?


What's new with me ...

I am very excited to announce that Hungry for Life: A Memoir Unlocking the Truth Inside an Anorexic Mind has sold over 10,000 copies! A big thank you to those of you who bought and/or helped to promote my book!

Sienna had a great 6th birthday, but insisted that we skip the Happy Birthday song exclaiming, "Everyone sings that same old birthday song every year." Who can argue with that?

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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