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Massage/Massage therapy for Adults with CP


QUESTION: I am a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist. I would like to provide massage to Adults with Cerebral Palsy. Does your facility provide instruction and/or certification in this area?   
Thank you so much for your time and assistance!

Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist
Certified Pediatric Ma  
Liddle Kidz Foundation
Liddle Kidz Foundation  
ANSWER: Hello Sandra,

Thank you for your email and question.  The focus of the Liddle Kidz Foundation is on massage therapy and touch therapies for infants, children, their families and healthcare providers.  As much as we do not offer a course specificlaly forusing massage therapy for adults with Cerebral Palsy, our pediatric massage courses could be helpful in your desire to work with this population.  I have included information below on our Touch Therapy for Cerebral Palsy course.  You may also find additional information about comprehensive pediatric and infant massage certifiction and training online at:

The comprehensive Touch Therapy for Liddle Kidz™ with Cerebral Palsy (Massage for Children with Cerebral Palsy) Course for massage therapists and healthcare professionals provides educational and professional training to those who wish to enhance their skills. Through this advanced training, participants learn to provide massage therapy, nurturing touch techniques, range of motion and touch therapy for children who have been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term that refers to many possible injuries to the brain usually occurring during fetal development; before, during, or shortly after birth; during infancy; or early childhood.  CP is not a disease, not progressive, nor communicable.  The United Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation estimates between 1 ˝ - 2 million children and adults have cerebral palsy in the United States.  10,000 babies and infants are diagnosed with cerebral palsy annually.  1,200 - 1,500 preschool age children are also recognized to have cerebral palsy each year.

There are several types of cerebral palsy which involve damage to different parts of the brain, and affect body movement, posture and muscle coordination.  These types are categorized into four types: spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed.

Spastic cerebral palsy

This is the most common form of cerebral palsy and accounts for nearly 50-80 percent of all cerebral palsy cases.  The symptoms include stiff, difficult and limited movement.  Children with spastic cerebral palsy have stiff and jerky movements. They often have a hard time moving from one position to another. They may also have a hard time holding and letting go of objects.  In some areas of the body muscle tone is so high that the tight muscle's antagonists have completely let go.
Athetoid cerebral palsy

This form is less common than spastic cerebral palsy and accounts for up to 20- 30% of all clients.  The symptoms include very weak muscles, involuntary and uncontrolled movement.  Athetoid cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the cerebellum or basal ganglia. These areas of the brain are responsible for processing the signals that enable smooth, coordinated movements as well as maintaining body posture.  These movements may also interfere with everyday functions such as speaking, feeding, reaching, grasping, and other skills requiring coordinated movements.
Ataxic cerebral palsy

This form is more rarely seen and involves chronic shaking, tremors and poor balance.  It affects approximately 5 - 10% of all CP clients.  These clients have low muscle tone and poor coordination of movement.  Children with ataxic cerebral palsy look very unsteady and shaky. This rare form of cerebral palsy also affects the child’s sense of balance and depth perception.
Mixed cerebral palsy

Approximately 10 -20% of Cerebral Palsy clients live with combinations of the CP forms.  These children have both the tight muscle tone of spastic cerebral palsy and the involuntary movements of athetoid cerebral palsy. This is because they have injuries to both the pyramidal and extrapyramidal areas of the brain.   A child’s CP may also be classified by what part of the body is affected.  For example: hemiplegic CP means the left or right side is affected; diplegic CP means either two arms or two legs are affected; and quadriplegic CP means all the extremities are affected to some extent.   
Without question massage therapy can have a valuable role in improving the quality of life of a child with cerebral palsy.  Research performed by the Touch Research Institute has indicated children affected by cerebral palsy receiving massage therapy showed fewer physical symptoms including reduced spasticity, less rigid muscle tone overall and in the arms and improved fine and gross motor functioning. In addition, the massage group had improved cognition, social and dressing scores on the Developmental Profile and they showed more positive facial expressions and less limb activity during face-to-face play interactions.  
In a study published in Nursing Times. (Massage for Children with Cerebral Palsy.) Researchers noted an increase in circulation in paralyzed limbs, with a change in color and temperature.  Massage may also be helpful in decreasing tone in spastic muscles, relieving tension and spasms, and improving blood circulation and digestion.

Because CP is the result of brain injury, it is important to also consider gentle nurturing touch which can stimulate the cranial areas helping the muscles to release.  Passive range of motion movements can assist in maintaining and increasing flexibility, provide movement in the joins and prevent contractures of the muscles.

Pediatric Massage for cerebral palsy requires specific skills to adapt massage and nurturing touch techniques suited for the child’s specific cerebral palsy condition(s), treatment and treatment plan.  This course is designed for students who want to work specifically with children with cerebral palsy.

During the Liddle Kidz™ Foundation Touch Therapy for Liddle Kidz with Cerebral Palsy, you will learn about Cerebral Palsy, Pediatric Massage for Clients with cerebral palsy, massage techniques, nurturing touch techniques, and the most common types of childhood cerebral palsy including spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed cerebral palsy.

We will discuss various symptoms, and commonly seen conditions associated with cerebral palsy such as various muscle tone (Hypertonicity, Hypotonicity), spasms and contractures, therapies and methods used to treat children with cerebral palsy, what to do when a child has a contracture, and what to do to help prevent/delay the formation of contractures, benefits for children and caregivers, current research and the importance of communication and attachment in building healthy emotional relationships and bonding. You will learn how to communicate with parents and healthcare providers, and how best to reach children who need your services most.

Specific concerns associated with massage use among younger children and adolescents may include fear of massage being administered by a stranger and apprehensions around touch and body image. In order to gain the child’s trust, during this course we will discuss appropriate approach to safely introduce massage and nurturing touch.  Since some clients with cerebral palsy may not be able to communicate verbally, we discuss how to pay very close attention to your clients' breathing patterns and facial expressions in order to develop an acute sensitivity to the clients' needs and comfort level. Massage and touch therapy techniques for working with children with varied pediatric cerebral palsy diagnoses will be demonstrated and practiced during hands-on in class sessions. The benefits and importance of individualized adaptations for using massage therapy will be explained.

Our Advanced Touch Therapy for Liddle Kidz with Cerebral Palsy
(Massage for Pediatric Cerebral Palsy) Training Course includes:

Review of Pediatric Cerebral Palsy Diagnoses
Review of a variety of therapies currently employed with children diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy
Massage techniques and nurturing touch techniques with adaptations for children with Cerebral Palsy
Contraindications and Precautions for the use of Massage Therapy for Pediatric Cerebral Palsy clients
Methodology for the use of pediatric massage therapy
Age appropriate approach and communication, and unique methods of communicating with children who have cerebral palsy
Overview of growth and development
Benefits for both children and caregivers
Recognizing Children’s verbal and nonverbal communication
Working with the entire family and healthcare team
Current pediatric massage research and how best to stay in touch with current research developments
Teaching and facilitating skills to impart simple ideas and techniques to parents
Networking and Marketing Skills for reaching healthcare professionals and families
Considerations for providing massage therapy for children of all backgrounds, including cultural considerations
Medical, healthcare and parental consent considerations
Touch Therapy for Liddle Kidz with Cerebral Palsy (Massage for Children with Cerebral Palsy) Guide (provided in class)
Supervised Practical Experience: In-class hands on practice.
Exam – the exam is administered and graded in class to ensure full understanding of the material presented, and to give participants any additional guidance prior to completing the course
After course mentoring from our Master Teacher
Processing of CEH/CEU paperwork and certifications as applicable
Recommended Pre-Course Study: Attendance and completion of Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist (CPMT) Course

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your response. Upon perusal of the 2013 LittleKidz massage courses calendar,there is only one course directed toward Cerebral Palsy massage,it is only introductory, in Kansas City, and I am NY based.

1)Are there any other CP targeted massage courses, close(er) to NY in 2013?
2)If not,is the CPMT applicable to CP based adult massage?
3)If not,may you direct me to any NY (or nearby)courses where I can get this viable education and certification?

Forever grateful

Hi Sandra,

Happy to answer your questions:

1)Are there any other CP targeted massage courses, close(er) to NY in 2013? The 2013 dates are beginning to be listed near and will include other options once new dates are listed.

2)If not,is the CPMT applicable to CP based adult massage? The CPMT course does include some adaptations that may be helpful in working with adult populations with a variety of needs.  We do discuss high tone muscles, low tone muscles, contractures, spasticity, seizures and medical equipment during the CPMT - pediatric massage therapy course.  So, this may be useful in your practice.  


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Infant Massage, baby massage and children's Massage Expert, Tina Allen welcomes any questions relating to infant and baby massage, children's massage, pediatric massage, and massage for infants and children who are hospitalized or in hospice care.

Additionally, through her internationally recognized volunteer work, founder of the Liddle Kidz Foundation, Tina Allen has extensive experience providing massage therapy to men and women who have advanced HIV/AIDS, are elderly or living with terminal illness in hospice care.


With over a decade of service to children and families, Tina Allen, founder of leading children’s health and nurturing touch organization Liddle Kidz Foundation, has become an internationally respected educator, author and expert in the field of infant and pediatric massage therapy.

Ms. Allen is the author of the internationally acclaimed, “A Modern-Day Guide to Massage for Children”.
She is a Pediatric Massage Master Teacher, Developmental Baby Massage Teacher, a Licensed Massage Therapist with specialized training in providing massage therapy for infants and children with special healthcare needs. Ms. Allen understands the varied physical and emotional needs of hospitalized and medically complex infants, children and their families.

Ms. Allen managed the nation’s first comprehensive pediatric massage program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), and is currently consulting on the development of comprehensive pediatric massage programs. for The Mayo Clinic, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Shriner’s Hospital and Sutton Children’s Medical Center.

Through Liddle Kidz Foundation Global, Ms. Allen regularly organizes groups of professional volunteers to travel to other parts of the world to provide global outreach to children and their caregivers.

A widely known expert in her field, Ms. Allen has appeared on NBC and The Learning Channel’s “Bringing Home Baby”, KCET and PBS’ “A Place of Our Own”. Her work has also been featured in many international publications including Massage Magazine, Massage and Bodywork Magazine and Massage Therapy Journal. She is a featured columnist with Massage Today Magazine.

Liddle Kidz Foundation NCBTMB ONE Concept ABMP • The Heart Touch Project • International Association of Integrative Medicine

Massage Magazine • Massage & Bodywork Magazine • Massage Today • International Integrative Medicine Publications in Canada, Japan and Australia • Momstyle News • Children's Hospital Compass

Licensed Massage Therapist • Certified Pediatric Massage Master Teacher • Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist • Certified Infant Massage Teacher • Developmental Baby Massage Teacher

Awards and Honors
• 2012 AMTA Humanitarian of the Year • 2011 International Massage Therapist of the Year • First 5 CA Champion for Children • 2009 Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Inductee • Richard Ryder Award for Dedicated and Passionate Service

Past/Present Clients
Children's Hospital Los Angeles • Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA • Cedars Sinai Medical Center • May Clinic • AI DuPont Hospital for Children • Nemours Foundation • Connecticut Children's Medical Center • Children's Mercy Hospital • Dell Children's Medical Center • St. Mary's Hospital for Children • Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center • TrinityKids care

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