Cerebral palsy symptoms in children decreased following massage therapy

Maria Hernandez-Reif, Tiffany Fielda, Shay Largie, Miguel Diego, Natasha Manigat, Jacqueline Seoanes, Joan Bornsteinb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Twenty young children (mean age = 32 months) with cerebral palsy (CP) recruited from early intervention programs received 30 minutes of massage or reading twice weekly for 12 weeks. The children receiving massage therapy showed fewer physical symptoms including reduced spasticity, less rigid muscle tone overall and in the arms, and improved fine and gross motor functioning. In addition, the massage group had improved cognition, social and dressing scores on the Developmental Profile, and they showed more positive facial expressions and less limb activity during face-to-face play interactions. These findings suggest that massage therapy attenuates physical symptoms associated with CP, enhances development and should be considered as an early intervention for children with CP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-456
Number of pages12
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2005


  • Cerebral palsy
  • Development
  • Massage therapy
  • Muscle tone
  • Spasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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