Massage and other therapeutic touch therapies are an integral part of a healthy, supportive developmental diet.
As children grow out of infancy, they receive less touch and more language to calm, nurture and redirect the child's behavior. This becomes a significant component in supporting the use of massage in a child's life when one weighs the many merits that human contact provides to the growing child. Touch engages the peripheral nervous system which in turn coordinates with the central nervous system to create a complete picture of the world, thus allowing the child to form an image of their reality.
Without touch there begins a deterioration of boundaries and on the extreme end, total neglect, can and often times does, lead to long term damage to the individiual both cognitively and emotionally. Touch boosts the human immune system by stimulating a chemical response similar to that which occurs in the thymus gland, leading to T-cell differentiation. Touch calms the nervous system by providing it with rhythmical input thus simulating the early calming rhythms experienced in utero. Touch also communicates states of being and allows interpretation of events that the child's language, both expressive and receptive, may not be able to understand. Finaly, touch provides a social experience whereby the child's needs are being appropriately responded to which encourages a secure attachment, a feeling of safety and security, and allows the child to develop empathy as a resulting consequence.