Archive for the ‘Genetic Disorders’ Category

Massage for Children with Down Syndrome

June 2, 2010

Review of Mosby’s Pathology for Massage Therapists 2nd edition, by Salvo and Anderson.

The Mosby Textbook discusses several genetic diseases in Chapter 1. Down Syndrome is a genetic disease mentioned in the text that affects 1 in 800 children born in the US. Down Syndrome is characterized by cognitive deficits speech problems (Kennedy & Flynn, 2002; Laws & Bishop, 2003), and motor and perceptual developmental problems (John et al., 2004; Kearney & Gentile, 2003). Furthermore, the text mentions a study that examined the effects of massage on 21 children with Down syndrome. According to the study, the children who had massage experienced improvement in fine and gross motor functioning and decreased hypertonicity in their limbs. To expand upon this issue, I read the following article that was mentioned in the text: Early Child Development and Care Vol. 176, Nos 3&4, May 2006, pp. 395-410 The link to the article: The children in this study were given two 0.5 hour massages per week for two months OR reading sessions (this was the control group). According to this article, on the first and last day of the study, the children’s functioning levels were assessed using the Developmental Programming for Infants and Young Children scale, and muscle tone was assessed using a new preliminary scale. Children in the massage therapy group revealed greater gains in fine and gross motor functioning and less severe limb hypotonicity when compared with the children in the reading/control group. These findings suggest that the addition of massage therapy to an early intervention program may enhance motor functioning and increase muscle tone for children with Down syndrome. This article goes into detail on the specifics of the study. It also details the massage session and the strokes that were used on the children. I found this topic to be very interesting as there does not appear to be significant research done into this topic. I am personally interested in using massage as a volunteer opportunity and am interested, after reading this article, in possibly offering massage to children with Down Syndrome or teaching their parents how to administer the massage to the child to help with the child’s development.


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