Massage Chairs and ADHD or ADD?

Glancing at the title of this post, you might wonder how Massage Chairs and ADD are related.  Perhaps it prompted you to ask to yourself, can a massage chair help with ADHD or ADD?  You might be surprised to learn that yes, it can.   Some massage chairs however offer significantly more features for ADD or ADHD, but more on that later.  For now let’s take a quick look into this condition.

Today ADD and ADHD are more commonly known, and diagnosed in both children and adults in much higher numbers than even a decade ago.  Most doctors and specialists agree the condition is physiological and not psychological.  Doing some research for this post I came across a fascinating theory of its cause, from Heyward Ewart, Ph.D., who has a degree in neuropsychology and specializes in chemotherapy, sickle-cell patients as well as hyperactive children.  Ewart forwards a theory that ADD or ADHD is thought to stem from sensory deprivation or restriction of movement during the period from infancy to about 3 years old.  In essence, he states that children who had one or more of the major senses blocked for a prolonged period of time develop ADD or ADHD later in life.adhd-blocks

Interfering with the perceptive senses of movement produce an “overcharged” central nervous system, whereby energy continues to build until there is an outlet – in which movement and perceptual stimulation are required in excess.  Because Ewart’s theory is so fascinating, and in order to do it justice, I’m going to provide a transcript of the core of his theory below.

If these [movement and perceptual stimulation] are not supplied at frequent intervals, the child becomes irritable, then angry and finally enraged.   Besides hyperactivity, the constellation of symptoms includes being stubborn, having a “short fuse” when it comes to temper, defiance, and a strong liking for very loud music or other noise, as well as every form of physical stimulation, including touch. Such would include very hot or very cold showers, back rubs, and activities that stimulate any of the senses, such as video games, sports and most any kind of exercise.   Some of the leading causes may be surgery during infancy that requires strapping the baby down, orthopedic corrective devices, such as bars, prolonged confinement to an incubator, and even a difficult delivery, whereby the baby is trapped in the birth canal. Tubes in the ears to correct hearing infections, procedures to the eyes, and immobilization of any part of the body or the entire body are also included.

Because under stimulation may be a cause, and excess energy is the result, I have found that the stimulation of massage for children with ADHD is extremely effective. While benefits have been seen in my practice for massaging young kids with ADHD, research also suggests positive effects for adolescents. Well-known researcher Tiffany Field, executive director of the Miami-based Touch Research Institutes (TRI), and her team of researchers have uncovered positive findings of massage on adolescents with ADHD. For the study, which was published in the Spring 1998 issue of Adolescence magazine, the researchers selected 28 adolescents, 14 of whom received a 15-minute massage session for 10 consecutive school days, and 14 of whom received 15 minutes of relaxation therapy for 10 consecutive school days. Assessment of the participants revealed that those who received massage were happier, and teachers noticed the positive change in these students.

I also found that in a TRI study, researchers selected children to receive massage twice a week for a month to test the more long-term effect of massage and ADD or ADHD.  Results showed that students were more productive in class, and their teachers rated them as less hyperactive.

All of this is not only fascinating in the potential root causes of this physiological condition, but also the potential for massage chairs to help treat ADHD or ADD.  I mentioned earlier in the article that some massage chairs offer significantly more features for the possible treatment of ADD or ADHD.  In particular is our Alphasonic massage chair, with integrated Braintronics programs which you can learn more about here.  These programs incorporate brainwave frequency stimulation combined with physical full-body massage.  One of the Braintronics programs is called “Improve Focus” and is designed to help you increase productivity for tasks, upcoming work or personal challenges — and this program can be particularly effective for ADD or ADHD conditions.

Numbers vary however the American Psychiatric Association estimates that 3 to 5 percent of children suffer from ADHD.  The few studies on massage and the treatment of ADD or ADHD suggest promising and exciting possibilities in the treatment for this condition that affects the central nervous system.