Massage Therapy Benefits Those With Cerebral Palsy

By Sean Cailteux on June 17, 2010 This article from the August 2002 edition of Massage Today outlines the benefits of Massage Therapy for those living with Cerebral Palsy. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a term that refers to many possible injuries to the brain during gestational development, birth, and early infancy. It is the result of brain damage, usually to motor areas of the brain, specifically the basal ganglia and/or cerebellum. The damage can be brought about prior to birth (maternal illness), during the birthing process (birth trauma), or may occur during early infancy as a result of head trauma, infection, or vascular problems. Regardless of the cause of brain damage, the child with cerebral palsy will have some impairment of function. The problem could be so minor that only people who know what to look for may see it, or it may be completely debilitating both physically and mentally; it all depends on what part and how much of the brain has been affected. The most common form of CP is known as Spastic Cerebral Palsy, and it accounts for 50 to 80% of all CP patients. Spastic CP means that in some areas of the body muscle tone is so high that the tight muscle’s antagonists have completely let go. This is called the “clasp knife” effect. Other types of CP are Athetoid Cerebral Palsy (involves very weak muscles and frequent involuntary writhing movements), Ataxic Cerebral Palsy (involves chronic shaking and tremors, and very poor balance), and Mixed Cerebral Palsy. Signs and symptoms of CP vary according to the location and extent of brain injury. However, some...