Massage has many physical and psychological benefits. Massage decreases stress levels, relaxes the muscles, reduces pain and stiffness, increases blood flow to a particular area of the body and decreases blood pressure. Kneading massage is a motion that is similar to kneading bread. There are many different types of superficial and deep kneading massage techniques -- palmar, digital, petrissage, rolling, wringing and chucking. Palmar and chucking techniques should not be used on the limbs of smaller people.
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Massage provides many benefits for healthy children as well as infants and children with developmental conditions or illness. Preterm infants who receive massages gain weight and are more responsive. Children with psychological conditions who receive massages have decreased anxiety and depression symptoms. Because infants and children are small people, superficial kneading massage is performed on their limbs. Deep kneading can cause pain and injury. Massage is performed with digital kneading -- the pads of the therapist's fingers are used to massage the skin using a pinching motion with minimal pressure.
Petrissage massage technique involves grasping around a muscle, lifting it up from the bone and squeezing it, then releasing back down. This works well on the limbs of smaller people because the muscles are smaller and easier to grasp. This type of massage is usually performed quickly at a rate of 30 to 90 compressions per minute. The intensity of the pressure is varied based on the client's tolerance.
The kneading technique of rolling works well on the limbs of people of all sizes. Place one open hand with fingers out straight on each side of the limb, starting at the wrist or ankle. Press the muscles against the bone and slide one hand up then down along the length of the limb. As the first hand is moving back down, slide the opposite hand up the limb. Continue moving the hands very quickly -- 200 to 400 movements per minute in opposite directions. Pressure should be varied based on the client's tolerance.
The wringing technique of kneading massage can be performed on people with smaller limbs. The motion used is similar to wringing out a towel. Grab a muscle with both hands, thumbs pointing toward each other. Squeeze the muscle and bend your wrists forward and backward with each hand moving in the opposite direction of the other hand. This technique is performed slowly -- only four to six times per minute. After each minute, move your hands a little further along the muscle. Wringing muscle can be uncomfortable and pressure should be adjusted to each client's tolerance.
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