Infants with Prader-Willi Syndrome Benefit from Massage Therapy

Published: 04th May 2009
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Copyright (c) 2009 Liddle Kidz Foundation Infant and Children's Pediatric Massage

Massage can be beneficial for many babies and children. For babies with Prader-Willi syndrome it is possible that massage may help provide appropriate stimulation for the circulatory and digestive systems, aide in sleep function and improve muscle tone.

Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is the most common genetic cause of life-threatening obesity in children. Those diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome have an issue with the function of their hypothalamus. This part of the brain normally controls feelings of being full or hungry. As a result of this dysfunction of the brain, in the second stage of PWS children are likely not to feel full and will eat constantly unless well monitored.

Newborn infants diagnosed with PWS display quite different symptoms. As newborns they often have low muscle tone, which can affect their ability to suck properly. This makes it nearly impossible, to take in the appropriate nutrients. Many times they may require feeding techniques to help them eat, and they have problems gaining weight. As the baby grows and develops, their strength and muscle tone usually improve.

Through massage we may be able to provide much needed support to newborns with Prader-Willi syndrome. Weight gaining issues may be improved through the stimulation of the Vagus nerve and the increased production of growth hormones that are then produced to help absorb the appropriate nutrients in the body. By providing massage on the face, especially the cheeks, lips and jaw, you can help to encourage muscle development, stimulation, strength, and proper sucking and feeding.

Massage therapy provides stimulation of the entire body. Knowing that blood circulation is often poor for babies with PWS, massage can be beneficial in stimulating their circulatory system.

Bed-wetting and consitpation are often symptoms of PWS. Constipation may be aided by providing massage to the abdomen in a clockwise circular motion. Bed-wetting is often caused by hypotonia and sleep issues. Hypotonia, or low muscle tone, can be improved, and muscle tone increased, through the use of massage therapy. Often when infants receive massage therapy they sleep for deeper and longer periods of time which may contribute to more restful and sound sleep for the infant with PWS.

It is important to consider massage therapy as one important part of the therapy plan for an infant with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Massage can help to relieve pain, and contribute to providing ways of increasing mobility and muscle tone, which are so important to infants with this syndrome.


Looking for expert advice, tips and tools to help improve your child's health? Find answers to all your questions about infant massage teacher training, massage for children and pediatric massage therapy at . Infant Massage Teacher Trainer, Tina Allen, founder of leading children's health and nurturing touch organization Liddle Kidz Foundation, shares over ten years of expertise working with children and families.

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