Pediatric massage therapy (MT), similar to its younger counterpart infant massage, has a limited number of rigorous studies supporting its clinical application and associated effects. However, clinicians and researchers have been intrigued by the potential benefits of pediatric MT for improving psychological and physiologic states in children who have various health conditions. This article provides a broad overview of pediatric MT, including proven and promising effects of MT across disease-specific clinical applications, contraindications, safety, context and availability of services, and future directions. Computerized databases were searched for relevant studies, including prior reviews, primary case studies, and randomized controlled trials of infant and pediatric MT. Current findings provide varying levels of evidence for the benefits of pediatric MT in children who have diverse medical conditions; however, anxiety reduction has shown the strongest effect. Future studies should use rigorous study design and methodology, with long-term follow-up, for examining the longitudinal effects of pediatric MT. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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