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2012 predictions

2012 predictions

Massage for the Growing Child
A Foundational Tool for Education
Sabrina Alexandria

In the first seven years of life, the most nourishing feelings you can give your children is lots of joy. Joy makes them feel warmth and love which is the basis for spiritual growth. Massage for children is a nourishing activity you can share with them from birth and onward in your relationship.

Touch is the first language children learn. Massage is a conscious form of that language. Learning how to touch and receive touch is learned early on. Asking permission to be touched creates a foundation for self-esteem, which is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. We must teach our little ones to find their anchor so they can better direct their lives in the future.

As a long time child educator and massage practitioner, I recognize the potential that massage has in the area of family education. The literal meaning of the word education is "to draw out from within." To me, education means "the right thing at the right time in support of inherent growth."

In the beginning of life, infants are fully open to receiving a complete massage. They love long, smooth, soothing strokes. This teaches them how to relax and helps them sleep more deeply. This also stimulates and increases the myelination around the nerve pathways and improves sensory organization.

As infants grow into independence from their primary caregiver, they start to crawl and move away from their protector. They are no longer interested in lying prone during a relaxed, alert moment for any considerable time. They want to be on the move and seek all kinds of new stimulation, which is crucial for their development.

The best movement for an active baby is crawling. The context of infant massage needs to shift. Infant massage needs to adapt to the baby's new needs. Some people turn massage into a game of chase, letting the baby crawl away and then stroking the back and legs as a way of catching up. Singing songs that incorporate physical play and massage can be a creative approach to massage for the crawler. Bath time is also a good time for massage. Massage before bedtime helps the baby relax.

Toddlers are interested in exploring their world. At this age, parents must find moments here and there to share massage with the toddler. Five minutes a day is better than nothing at all. Games with rhyming verses are the best way to capture the toddler's interest. The important thing to remember is to keep the mood light and easy. (Avoid massage if you are not feeling cheerful yourself.) Sharing massage must be a pleasurable activity that the little ones do with their caregiver in trust, love and willing participation.

Standing up and walking are the main focus at this time in a child's life. Think about the implications around walking a straight line for the first time. What is the inward feeling they experience? Full control and mastership over the body is related to mastery of the self, indeed a lifetime work.

During this time of relishing the new and vertical experience of the world, children develop autonomy and continue to separate from the caregiver. One way they do this is by saying "no." If your offer of massage is rejected, respect their choice. Receiving massage should be an aspect of life in which they do have a say. When you respect them, they respect you. Remember, children learn through imitation. Your self-discipline becomes the child's self-discipline.

Sometimes little ones ask for massage in a code. For example, they might say, "I have a tummy ache." Then you can offer a tummy massage in a playful way.

With the pre-school aged child, massage can slowly return to its original form where the child can again receive while lying down in a restful mood of quiet alert. Children at this age like to pre-tend they are infants. They like to relive the memory of receiving massage as an infant. Many early school aged children go through a phase of nostalgia for their life as a baby.

Creating stories with young children, who can now speak freely, is great fun. Their imaginations are so alive the make-believe world sometimes takes precedence over the actual world. All kinds of scenarios can be acted out together. Try growing gardens on the child's back and play with varied weather patterns. Make pizza on the child's tummy with strange and exotic toppings. Make bread with the child's arms and legs. How about an insect parade? You can go as far as both your imaginations will take you.

As children reach school age, they enjoy massage lying on their stomach rather than face up. It is relaxing and they feel more protected. A good time for massage is after they come home from sport practice, or if you see they have had a bad day.

All children up until puberty rely on their tactual, kinesthetic experience for gathering information and connecting with the world. They still bond through touch, so touching remains a crucial form of communication between them and their caregivers. It helps them to remain close to their caregivers in a loving relationship. In turn, this becomes a basic source of their self-esteem in the future.

With the onset of adolescence, real modesty begins to surface. This is an important personal boundary to respect, especially while sharing massage. Leaving clothing on when a child at any age doesn't want to be exposed is conducive to a lasting, communicative relationship based on trust and love. Respect this boundary and keep away from body parts associated with sexuality. It is important to keep these boundaries intact as they grow into adulthood. At this time keep massage simple. Rub only their feet, shoulders, hands and head.

Sore feelings about challenging situations can also be relieved through massage. Give the child personal space to feel without judgment. It is important for healthy communication during these moments when the child needs to express feelings. Avoiding eye contact by massaging the back is a great way to respect the child's personal space as he or she talks about issues. It is easier to talk about worries with the face turned away from you.

The few things about massage that never change are asking permission, connecting through the heart, sharing safe and playful physical contact, experiencing muscular and emotional relaxation and establishing a bond of trust. The life-long gifts your children receive from massage while they are growing up are a solid sense of complete body awareness and a healthy sense of intimacy. They know what caring touch is like and they know how to respect another's boundaries by asking permission and respecting that person's degree of openness.

One of my mentors in education once told me something that made a very profound affect on the way I viewed "relationship." She told me that real sex education begins in Kindergarten when children learn the sacred meaning behind no, please and thank you.

May you truly deepen your interpersonal connections with your family by experiencing this spiritual journey of growth, love and communication through massage!

"I know touching was, still is and always will be the true revolution." -Nikki Giovanni

Visit the Christine Breese website to read articles on consciousness and awakening, visit University of Metaphysical Sciences Video Satsangs to see talks on spiritual subjects. Read articles on Wisdom of the Heart Church. Visit Starlight Journal for blogs, newsletter, and forums on spiritual subjects. Visit Christine Breese's Metaphysical Sciences youtube channel to view free video satsangs.

2012 paradigm shift

2012 predictions

2012 predictions

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