Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: May 2010

Not just kidding around ...

After an enlightening three-day intensive workshop on gentle massage for children, I am inspired to share what I learned. We all know how beneficial massage therapy is for adults: enhancing circulation, reducing anxiety, easing chronic pain, increasing energy, improving respiration and digestion … plus, it feels great! Yet it's odd that so little has been published on the importance of therapeutic massage for children.

Massage for children has been shown to reduce anxiety (yes, it’s stressful being a kid), improve sleep, relieve constipation, alleviate negative feelings, encourage better body-image, and the list goes on! The massage practitioner can also teach the whole family nurturing massage techniques. My teacher, Shay Beider, writes that gentle massage "helps to support respectful and nonviolent communication in the family. I have seen siblings learn to find more positive ways of engaging with one another when using massage and story-telling. Parents have often told me that after massage is introduced, they find their children are less aggressive toward one another and that the home becomes more peaceful. Once children learn that they can express themselves in this way, a new opportunity for nonverbal communication is established. ... The essence of massage for children is providing safe and loving touch that encourages a positive experience in the body and that nurtures healthy relationships.”

Don't just get ... give!

You know how great it feels to get a massage, but did you know you can improve your health by GIVING one? Roblynn Neumann reports the findings of a study in which “elderly retired volunteers were assessed after giving infants massage for a month ... Results were: 1) they reported less anxiety and fewer depressive symptoms and an improved mood after giving infants massage; 2) their pulse decreased; 3) their cortisol levels decreased; and 4) they reported improved self esteem and a better lifestyle (e.g. fewer doctor visits and more social contacts) after the one month period.” This suggests that your health can greatly beneift from giving massages as well as receiving them!

Study source: "Elderly Retired Volunteers Benefit from Giving Massage Therapy to Infants", Journal of Applied Gerontology, (1998), 17, 229-239

What's new with me ...

With so many people out and about in the spring, I decided to do a little experiment. I broke the #1 rule of pedestrians in NYC: never make eye-contact! For two days, I purposefully looked my fellow passer-bys right in the eyes and smiled at them. Amazingly, no one shot at me, no one maced me, and no one called 911. Some didn’t notice, or pretended not to notice. But many returned my friendly gaze either with curiosity or, even better, a smile! Smiling is indeed contagious.

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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