My son, Phoenix, and I were coming up the stairs after grocery shopping. When we get inside our apartment, he says, “Ah, I hurt my back mommy! I need a massage immediately!” Now, my son is a bit dramatic…and by a bit, I mean extremely. You would think the sky was falling…all day, every day! That being said, he’s never asked for a massage for pain relief before. In fact, I didn’t even think he knew that massage could do that!
Most parents massage their kids when they are little. Being that Phoenix has a massage therapist for a mom, he is no different, except maybe in the way I use massage. Phoenix was never the kid that needed a relaxing massage to go to sleep. This kid never had a problem sleeping! He’s been sleeping through the night ever since he was a few weeks old. I know, I was super lucky! In fact, if I tried to cuddle or massage him when he was falling asleep, he’d get agitated. When I do massage Phoenix, it’s after he showers. I use really thick oils and creams for his incredibly dry skin and eczema, so the massage is somewhat vigorous. He’s also used to receiving Thai massage on occasion (which I’ll talk about in a later blog). Those are the only two contexts he knows massage…so I thought.
Given all this, I was kind of shocked when he ask for a massage because his back hurt. When he flung the bag of groceries on the floor, he did so in a way that hurt his right rhomboid. I sat him on my lap, and brought his arm across his body. I pressed his right pec backward while manipulating his scapula, then I massaged his right rhomboid and levator scapula from that position. He let me know when I found the spots that hurt, and then breathed a sigh of relief once the pain was gone. While massaging Phoenix, I realized that I’ve never done deep work on a body his size before. I was surprised to feel how tense his little muscles were. The whole process was quite intuitive though…and kind of fun!
There’s a lot of myths about deep tissue massage (again, the subject of a later blog), one of which I’ve heard is that you shouldn’t do that particular kind of massage on minors, or smaller people. I’m not sure how that myth got started. Working on my son, who is both small, and a minor, I can tell you that idea is erroneous. There was no way I could’ve given Phoenix a fluffy “spa massage” and still alleviated his pain. The dude needed the works!
Even though the massages Phoenix received in the past weren’t aimed at pain relief, the fact that he had decreased pain as
a side effect, prompted him to ask for a massage when he was in pain. I’m glad that he instinctively knew what to do to take care of himself.