Benefits of Massage for ADHD

Studies show that massage therapy can have a positive effect on children with ADHD. In a study by B. Magaddian, a massage therapy group showed positive effects after receiving a massage from therapists and parents. The researchers in this study found the results to be quite promising.

The study’s protocol…
• The patients receiving massage received six 20-minute sessions given once weekly.
• The patients were supine and prone on the massage table and massage therapy techniques were adapted to each individual.
• The modalities used included Swedish, cranial-sacral and lymphatic drainage techniques.
• Parents watched the treatments and were then instructed on how to perform them at home. They were also given the opportunity to practice the techniques before leaving and given a hand out describing the techniques and a calendar to mark each day they spent five minutes or more doing the treatment with their child.

The study’s results…
• The patients reported better anger control, improvement in mood, more restful sleep and improvement in focus at school.
• Two out of three participants also showed improvement at social functions.
• All parents involved in the study found the experience to be a positive one. Parents found it relaxing and felt comfortable with the technique, including a sense of closeness with the child.
• The minor negative parental responses were that the child was not always cooperative and only wanted therapy at certain times.
• If given the possibility, the researchers would redesign the study to allow for more participants, with more focus on at home therapies and training.
• Popular opinion shows that parents are dissatisfied with current treatment options and alternative therapies deserve further review.


1. The Effects of Massage Therapy and Exercise Therapy in Children/Adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. B. Maddigan, MD. P. Hodgson, RMT; S. Heath, RN; B. Dick, yoga therapist; K. St. John,MD; T Mcwilliam-Burton,MD; C. Snelgrove, MD and H. White, MD
2. The Canadian Child And Adolescent Psychiatry Review, March 2003