Massage Therapy and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

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Natural ADHD treatments like massage can be used in conjunction with other remedies to calm the symptoms of this disorder. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder effects 3 to 5 percent of children in the United States. This learning disorder is the most common psychiatric diagnostic label given to children. About 2 million children in the US have been diagnosed with this learning disorder. Massage therapy can help calm the mind and ease the effects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.


People with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have difficulty maintaining attention or focus on activities. They are overactive for their age and tend towards impulsive behaviors. Children who display these symptoms to an extreme in school are easily noticed. Some children with this disorder are more passive. They daydream a lot and have difficulty paying attention, but don’t display the typical hyperactivity associated with the disorder.

All children fidget and daydream. These are normal behaviors for children. When the fidgeting and daydreaming are extreme and interfere with forming friendships with other children and school and home behavior they become a problem. Children with this disorder have difficulty finishing tasks like chores or homework.

Many children with this disorder also have severe mood swings, learning disabilities, and anxiety disorders. They are more likely to display anti-social behaviors as they get older and are more likely to have substance abuse problems.

Because the symptoms can be difficult to pinpoint you should get a diagnosis from a professional and not try to diagnose the disorder yourself.

Medical Treatment

Ritalin is usually prescribed to children with this disorder. In 75 percent of cases it eases the symptoms of ADHD.

Ritalin stimulates the area of the brain that is used to pay attention. It also increases dopamine levels in the brain.

As of yet, there have been no long-term studies of the effects of Ritalin. There can be some side effects from taking the drug including:

rapid heart beat
The side-effects if you overdose on Ritalin are:

high blood pressure
irregular heart beat
Natural ADHD Remedies

Changing your chid’s diet can act as a good natural ADHD treatment. Diet affects the brain more than some people realize. There are food additives that contribute to a child having difficulty focusing. Avoid products that contain the following additives:

Sodium benzoate
Green #3
Blue #1 and #2
Red #3 and #40
Orange B
Yellow #5 and #6
These additives are found mostly in junk foods. Cutting these foods our of your child’s diet can make a big difference. Many children are used to snacking on chips, sweets and sodas most of the day. These foods are the exact foods that contribute to behavior problems. It may take some doing, but getting these foods out of your child’s life will be beneficial in the long run.

Besides these food additives other food allergies may contribute to this disorder. Foods like citrus, dairy, gluten, tomatoes and peanuts are common allergens that may cause problems. You can try eliminating these foods from your child’s diet to see how their behavior is affected. You can slowly re-introduce these foods to your child’s diet and see how they respond.

Cutting down on the amount of refined sugar your child eats will also help. If your child’s blood sugar is balanced you will notice a difference in his behavior.

Omega 3 fatty acids are important in brain function. Many child with problems with hyperactivity and attention deficit are deficient in these important fatty acids. You can have your child take a fish oil supplement. I would recommend cod liver oil over fish oils though because besides the omega 3 fats your child needs it also contains vitamins A and D.

You can also get omega 3 fats from oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines and flaxseeds.

Other deficiencies can also contribute to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Low levels of magnesium, zinc, calcium, B vitamins, and vitamin C. Simply supplementing with these vitamins may not be enough. Your child may have a condition that is blocking the absorption of these vitamins for some reason. Exploring this possibility with a doctor may be beneficial.


Massage therapy has a calming effect that is great for people with this disorder. People with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder have an imbalance with their parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.

The sympathetic nervous symptom is responsible for the flight or fight response and the parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxation. Massage triggers the parasypathetic nervous system. That’s what makes massage so relaxing.

The Touch Institute at the University of Miami did a study on massage and ADHD. They studied children between the ages of 7 and 17. The group that received massage twice a week for 20 minutes showed an increase in mood regulation and improved long-term classroom behavior.

Gentle, relaxing massages are calming and best for children as a natural ADHD treatment. Swedish massage, watsu, Esalen massage and lomi lomi would all be appropriate.

Children have a hard time staying still so it’s best to schedule shorter massages, 20 to 30 minutes. Between professional sessions you can massage your child yourself. You can ask your massage therapist to teach you some basic massage techniques to use or you can learn how to massage from this online course.

Massaging your child for a few minutes everyday or even just a few times a week will help improve his/her behavior. It will also help increase your emotional bond besides acting as a natural ADHD treatment.