| For Cerebral Palsy Patients, Massage Makes Life Better
by Denise Edwards and Gary Bruce
This issue’s cover story delves into the conditions of this neurological disorder and how massage therapy can bring relaxation and structural improvement to those suffering from this affliction. Edwards and Bruce describe the conditions of Cerebral Palsy (CP) and explain how symptoms can range from severe to mild. Information on the connection between the brain and muscles of a CP patient, and how a massage therapist "by using slow and repeated movements" can "trigger a desired response (lowering of muscle tone) by working through the pathways to the brain," are explained by Edwards and Bruce. Since some CP clients may not be able to communicate verbally, massage therapists are encouraged to pay close attention to CP clients’ breathing patterns and facial expressions and develop an acute sensitivity to the clients’ needs and comfort level. Edwards and Bruce point out the hypersensitivities to sensations some CP clients with brain injuries may experience and they discuss techniques to assist the therapist in giving a gentle and non-irritating massage. Goal setting for the massage therapist and the CP client are discussed by Edwards and Bruce, for the importance of tracking progress and to emphasize the therapeutic value of massage for people suffering from CP.
Resources for Cerebral Palsy