Ep 309 – Pediatric Touch Therapy with Tina Allen

An image of a baby with their foot in the foreground receiving pediatric touch.

Imagine a world where every child has the chance to reach their full potential. In this episode of The ABMP Podcast, Kristin and Darren speak with Tina Allen, founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation, about the differences between infant and pediatric massage, why she created the Liddle Kidz Foundation, what she has noticed in her travels around the world regarding “touch culture,” and what advice she has for practitioners interested in learning more about pediatric touch therapy.

Resources: For more information visit www.liddlekidz.org/abmp

Author Images: 
Tina Allen, founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation.
Darren Buford, editor-in-chief of Massage & Bodywork magazine.
Kristin Coverly, director of professional education at ABMP.
Author Bio: 

Tina Allen, founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation, is the premier expert and authority on infant and pediatric massage therapy. She is an internationally respected lecturer, educator, and award-winning author of the best-selling book “A Modern Day Guide to Massage for Children.”

For over 20 years, Tina has propelled the Liddle Kidz Foundation to global awareness. Her integrative approach has provided her the opportunity to develop comprehensive certification programs and consult on numerous pediatric massage programs, research studies, and pediatric massage protocols. She has collaborated with health-care professionals around the world to provide pediatric massage therapy in more than 100 medical institutions, including the Mayo Clinic, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the Tokyo National Metropolitan Children’s Hospital.

The Liddle Kidz Foundation has achieved long-standing global success with its International Therapeutic Exchange Program (iTEP), where qualified volunteer health-care ambassadors join the Liddle Kidz Foundation to create a sustainable impact in the communities they serve.

Allen’s work with children around the world has garnered international honors, including the Massage Therapy Foundation Humanitarian of the Year, American Massage Therapy Association Award for Distinguished Service, and State of California Champion for Children.

Hosts:

Darren Buford is senior director of communications and editor-in-chief for ABMP. He is editor of Massage & Bodywork magazine and has worked for ABMP for 22 years, and been involved in journalism at the association, trade, and consumer levels for 24 years. He has served as board member and president of the Western Publishing Association, as well as board member for Association Media & Publishing. Contact him at editor@abmp.com.

Kristin Coverly, LMT is a massage therapist, educator, and the director of professional education at ABMP. She loves creating continuing education courses, events, and resources to support massage therapists and bodyworkers as they enhance their lives and practices. Contact her at ce@abmp.com.

Sponsors: 

 

Anatomy Trains: www.anatomytrains.com

 

Precision Neuromuscular Therapy: www.pnmt.org

 

Anatomy Trains is a global leader in online anatomy education and also provides in-classroom certification programs for structural integration in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and China, as well as fresh-tissue cadaver dissection labs and weekend courses. The work of Anatomy Trains originated with founder Tom Myers, who mapped the human body into 13 myofascial meridians in his original book, currently in its fourth edition and translated into 12 languages. The principles of Anatomy Trains are used by osteopaths, physical therapists, bodyworkers, massage therapists, personal trainers, yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonics, and other body-minded manual therapists and movement professionals. Anatomy Trains inspires these practitioners to work with holistic anatomy in treating system-wide patterns to provide improved client outcomes in terms of structure and function.    

Website: anatomytrains.com                      

Email: info@anatomytrains.com          

Facebook: facebook.com/AnatomyTrains                     

Instagram: www.instagram.com/anatomytrainsofficial

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2g6TOEFrX4b-CigknssKHA  

     

Therapists who are drawn to Precision Neuromuscular Therapy are problem-solvers who want to learn new approaches, but also understand the “why” behind the “what”.  This desire resonates with our emphasis on the problem-solving process, rather than the teaching of a singular technique or approach. Led by founder Douglas Nelson, each PNMT instructor is a busy clinician with decades of practical experience.

We have taught hundreds of hands-on live seminars for more than twenty years, emphasizing precise palpation and assessment skills. PNMT online courses are another rich source of discovery and deeper understanding. Also available is a video resource library (PNMT Portal) with hundreds of videos of treatment, assessment, pathology, and practice pearls.

Learn more at www.pnmt.org

Full Transcript: 

0:00:00.0 Speaker 1: Easily run your business with free online scheduling, payment processing and more from the new ABMP PocketSuite signature edition. ABMP has partnered with PocketSuite to bring members a free easy-to-use phone app that lets you focus on what matters most, your clients. Businesses on PocketSuite see an average 30% increase in earnings, and you can get set up in 15 minutes by choosing from curated, preloaded settings or customizing the app for your practice, features include online scheduling, HIPAA Compliant intake forms and contracts and payment processing, all included in the ABMP signature edition and all free to ABMP members. Go to abmp.com/PocketSuite to get started. And spend more time focusing on what you love. 

 

[music] 

 

0:01:05.9 Darren Buford: I'm Darren Buford. 

 

0:01:07.2 Kristin Coverly: And I'm Kristin Coverly. 

 

0:01:08.2 DB: And welcome to The ABMP Podcast. A podcast where we speak with the massage and body work profession. Our guest today is Tina Allen. Tina is founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation and is the premier expert and authority on infant and pediatric massage therapy. She's an internationally respected lecturer, educator and award-winning author of the best-selling book, A Modern Day Guide to Massage for Children. For over 20 years, Tina has propelled the Liddle Kidz Foundation to global awareness. Her integrative approach has provided her the unique opportunity to develop comprehensive certification programs and consult on numerous pediatric massage programs, research studies, and pediatric massage protocols. She's collaborated with healthcare professionals throughout the world to provide pediatric massage therapy in more than 100 medical institutions, including the Mayo Clinic, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and the Tokyo National Metropolitan Children's Hospital. For more information, visit www.liddlekidz.org/abmp. Hello, Tina and hello Kristin. 

 

0:02:09.6 Tina Allen: Hello. Good morning. I'm really excited to be with you both today. 

 

0:02:14.1 KC: Tina. We are thrilled to have you here. And of course, because it's your first time on the ABMP Podcast, we need to start with what we like to call your origin story. So tell us how did you get started with massage therapy and then specifically infant and pediatric massage? How did your journey evolve?  

 

0:02:31.3 TA: Well, that... Thank you for that question. I think, there's a lot of us that have similar story. When I talk to my colleagues and they say, I never thought I would be a massage therapist. And I hear that story, in that I didn't know that this is what I would be doing. I knew always even as a child, I wanted to work in pediatric healthcare. I didn't know exactly how, I did know I didn't want to give shots or do blood draws or anything that was painful or uncomfortable to kids, but I didn't know what it would look like exactly. And so when I started in university, having not a real clear direction, I filled up my list of studies and all of my courses with all the basic core education that you had to complete before you picked a major. And then there came a day where my advisor came to me and said, today's the day you can't put this off any longer. And so we went into her office and flipping through an old fashioned paper catalog of healthcare careers, there was one that really popped off the page, and that was pediatric occupational therapy. And the reason for that and what stood out to me, it mentioned you could use under your scope of practice, massage and movement and music and art therapy. 

 

0:03:46.8 TA: And I thought, this is great. I wanna do this because not only is it pediatric healthcare, but it gives you so many options of your approaches and interventions. And so I jumped into the OT program and I loved the program, but as I was in this program, probably about three quarters of the way through, they introduced these modalities, it was really brief and I raised my hand and I said, this is great, and how do we learn more and when will we learn more about all of these interventions we can use? And they said, we're glad you're excited about it, but we're not gonna teach you anymore about it here. It's just more the idea that you can seek education on these items if you wanna use them, and you have to seek it on your own. And so at the time, I didn't know how to do that. I just thought I'm going to find a program that is dedicated to each of these modalities with the sole purpose to learn them the best way that I could, but to add them to my OT scope of practice. And so I decided to start with massage, and I found a massage therapy program that I loved, and for two reasons. 

 

0:04:48.3 TA: One, it was near the university where I was doing my OT study so I could stay in both programs at the same time. And I thought, massage, great. I'm gonna start with massage because I love receiving massage as a client. And what a bonus. I bet you practice in class was my thinking. But it was interesting when I was in the massage program and I'm waiting for them to explain to us how to use infant and pediatric massage. And the day just never came until close to the end, they introduced this little module on special populations. And one of the five populations they mentioned was using touch therapy within the neonatal intensive care unit. It was simply to introduce a research study. And it's great, and that's wonderful, and I love research, but it wasn't enough. And when I asked, well, where do we learn more? And they said, well, again, you have to seek it on your own. And their advice at the time for Massage for Children was to just ask their parents, use the same protocol you would use with an adult and do it a little bit softer, use less pressure. That's not all there is to it, and I knew that, they couldn't teach me anything more about it. I did have to seek it on my own. And that's where, thankfully I love research. 

 

0:06:01.2 TA: So I started to dive into every research study, I took every kind of child development class, any class I could find that was in relation to prenatal massage and pregnancy massage. I also trained as a doula because I thought if I could learn about massage for families before the child even arrives, maybe there's something there. And I started to take all of these nuggets of knowledge and put them together and talk to colleagues and come up with ideas and develop protocols and approaches that I thought would be really effective for children. And I just started to use them with friends children initially who said my daughter is showing a little bit of a sensory issue. Can you show me something I can use? And I would do that. And then another person would hear about it. And it started to snowball from there where I had therapists and different people either refer children to me to my practice or ask if I could teach them something. And so, it's sort of a wonderful, happy accident with a lot of really strong foundation that leads me to where I am today. 

 

0:07:07.2 DB: With a healthy dose of your curiosity. That was pretty powerful. Like honestly, you were driving yourself there because you didn't have anything, right? You're saying like you had to kind of cobble this information together yourself. 

 

0:07:21.3 TA: Absolutely. And it would be really lovely if I could tell you, I met this wonderful person who had all of this knowledge and unloaded it all to me, but that wasn't the case. It was seeking it on my own and just finding every time I had a question, like you mentioned curiosity, which I think is a great word, is that curious, how can we adapt it? How can we make this a unique to that child? And that's where it all stemmed from. 

 

0:07:48.3 DB: So Tina, let's jump ahead a little bit. Why did you create Liddle Kidz Foundation?  

 

0:07:53.7 TA: So as I taught more and more people, I thought, well, there clearly is a need here, and there needs to be an organization that fills that need. And that's where the Liddle Kidz Foundation comes from. We are a non-profit organization in both education and healthcare categories because of the work that we do. And I created that so that there would be a resource for therapists and other practitioners to be able to not be in the shoes I was into. Actually find a trusted resource they could learn from. 

 

0:08:24.0 KC: Tina, the Liddle Kidz Foundation has grown so much over the years, and you offer so many different programs for education and hospital-based work. Tell us a little bit more about all the different programs that you offer now. 

 

0:08:38.2 TA: Thank you for that question. A lot of people don't exactly understand what it is that we do with the foundation. Maybe they were drawn to us for one specific reason, and then they discover all of the different things that we do. So our programs are vast, they are global, but we do house them specifically under three major categories. The first being our education and certification arm of the foundation where I provide education and training, working with infants and pediatric population, starting from Level IV NICU the most medically fragile, premature, and involved babies, all the way through all ages and stages of development. Not only children with diagnosis, but also children that are in your private practices who have anxiety or trouble going to school or other kinds of situations where they may be seeking massage. But we have developed these programs to also address specific situations like we're working with children who have autism and children with cerebral palsy, cancer, palliative care, and of course in the hospital. So, really a wide array of education and certification programs available in that area. 

 

0:09:53.1 TA: We also do develop inpatient and outpatient hospital-based massage programs. And as you mentioned, I've been very lucky to work with so many amazing institutions around the world that we've developed and implemented pediatric and infant massage in over 100 hospitals to date. And it's just growing. And I think that that's a really important thing. And that does blend itself to using some of the education and certification as well. Obviously we want the qualified people working in the healthcare setting. So that's part of it. And then a third huge program area for us is our global component, where we are doing global outreach under our iTEP program, which is International Therapeutic Exchange Program, where I take qualified healthcare providers to different countries and we provide therapy, evaluation, assessment and education, creating sustainable and replicable programs in countries around the world where they wouldn't normally have access to therapy. 

 

0:10:51.9 DB: Tina, for clarity, can you give our listeners an insight on the differences between infant and pediatric massage, and that kind of includes an age range or how you might approach those different age ranges?  

 

0:11:04.9 TA: Absolutely, and I again, thank you for that question because I think that this is also a common... I guess a little bit of a confusion area in that a lot of people make the assumption, maybe they've heard of infant massage, for example. They often would think that pediatric and infant massage are interchangeable and they're the same modality and they're not. So first, let me break it down a little bit in that even infant massage, when we are using touch therapy, for example, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, I don't categorize that even as standard sort of infant massage either. It's different. So I break it up in that we have a NICU massage or touch therapy category, and that is where we're working with babies who may have been born early or with very compromised medical situations. We're providing the care within the unit, so at the hospital itself, providing hands-on touch therapy for children that we deem to meet the eligibility criteria. And there's a lot of factors for that of a certain weight and a certain stability and respiratory availability in all of these pieces. 

 

0:12:11.0 TA: So, we have a lot of criteria there. In the healthcare unit at the hospital, we provide the touch directly as it is appropriate, and we also teach parents, and then we do work with families as they're discharged. And so the NICU massage takes on a different element in that there's more medical fragility. When we get into the infant massage category, we typically start infant massage at the earliest, at around three weeks. So a baby that's been born full term and now they're about three weeks of age, and that's a gray zone. So it depends of course on that individual child's development. But what we do with infant massage, and the main focus is we teach parents. It's not so much the therapist providing the massage, but rather teaching parents because we know that they're capable. We want to increase confidence, we want to increase bonding. I want parents to have a tool they can use when their baby's having trouble sleeping or they're having GI issues or maybe they're having trouble with teething. And so I want to empower parents when I use infant massage. 

 

0:13:17.4 TA: And so again, we usually start when they're about three weeks of age and go using this idea as much as we need to, whether it's they're toddler, we might start looking at that, turning into pediatric massage at around toddler age. We still teach parents under pediatric massage if that's the correct approach at the time. But with pediatric massage, we are focusing on children from that sort of gray zone of toddler age all the way through the later stages of adolescence. All children benefit from massage. It doesn't have to only be because there's a symptom going on or a pain or a discomfort. Everyone really does benefit from receiving healthy touch. And that's one of the pieces I try to push across in all of the education I provide. 

 

0:14:02.0 KC: Tina, talk to us about the benefits of working with children or introducing massage and touch therapy to infants and pediatric clients. 

 

0:14:11.8 TA: One of my favorite benefits, and it's a little bit hard to measure and I'll add others, but one of my favorite benefits is the empowerment piece, is giving children a choice. There are certain rules and guidelines we have to follow all the time as children, even in the hospital, there are so many treatments that are taking place and so many interventions that are really scary to children, they're not explained. And so pediatric massage is one of the few interventions where the child has a choice. It's something where we always ask and they're allowed to say no, and we don't force them. And so to me, one of the biggest benefits is that, is that a child has a choice, a choice in their own healthcare, a choice to receive healthy touch. And that's a little hard to measure, but it's probably one of the things that impresses me the most when I work with kids. 

 

0:15:03.0 TA: Other things that have just been amazing is we see the babies in the NICU go home sooner. They gain more weight than their peers. Their parents are more engaged, they feel more confident, they don't come back, they're not readmitted at the same rate. A lot of the neonates when they leave the hospital and the parents know how to use touch therapy, we have noticed readmission rates drop significantly, which is huge for the families and huge for the healthcare system, with my kiddos with autism, there's been a lot of people that believe or think children with autism do not like to be touched. I've never found that to be true. And just finding ways that we can reach them and meet them where they're at, I think is really important to see how they can tolerate touch longer. I've had children that completely... They behave completely differently during massage and after massage that their family or the healthcare team that they're being seen by has never seen before. I had one little girl, I was working with her, with her mom, and her mom gave me all her health history and told me she's not verbal and all of that. 

 

0:16:12.7 TA: And I take all of that into consideration, but I also take each piece of that with a grain of salt. And I meet the child where they're at for that day, and I was working with her and asking permission, and she's not verbal, but I can tell by how she's reacting, it's okay. And I'm just touching her hand, and we stop. And I'm speaking with her mom, and she turns toward me, the little girl and starts yelling, "More, more, more". And I look at her mom and I said, "I have more time, is it okay?" Her mom started to cry and I didn't know why, and I said, "Is it okay?" And she said, "I've never heard her speak before, please do more". And I said, "Sure". 

 

0:16:53.3 DB: Wow. 

 

0:16:53.6 TA: And I started to give more massage, and since then, I taught her mom and she's gained more verbal language. And that sounds really amazing. I wasn't expecting that. But when someone says to me, for example, "They're not verbal", "Maybe not today, maybe. What does that look like?" I take all of those things into consideration. So that for me was really a powerful experience to be able to have that kind of a benefit happen and not something I was expecting. And I think those benefits to me are more impressive because they're not something that we expect. It's not reading a research study and saying, well, based on this protocol, this is what we expect to happen. You can't do that with children. You have to use that to inform your plan and your idea. But you can't use that as a guide because everybody is so unique that you do have to adapt it. And that's what I love about pediatric massages, is you can adapt it to meet the needs of every client and every patient. And so the benefits you achieve are beyond your imagination. 

 

0:17:55.6 KC: Let's take a short break to hear a word from our sponsors. 

 

0:18:00.7 S1: Anatomy Trains is excited to invite you to our latest in-person Fascial Dissection workshop. April 10th through 14th 2023 in Boulder, Colorado. Join Anatomy Trains author Tom Myers and Master Dissector Todd Garcia on this voyage of discovery. Visit anatomytrains.com for more information. 

 

0:18:27.2 S1: Are you a massage therapist who loves to problem solve? Do you seek clients with challenging musculoskeletal issues? If so, then studying precision neuromuscular therapy will help to sharpen your decision making skills and achieve better client outcomes. Our emphasis is on the problem solving process rather than the teaching of a singular technique or approach. Led by founder Douglas Nelson, each PNMT instructor is a busy clinician with decades of practical experience. Visit pnmt.org to explore our offerings of live seminars, online courses, or the video resource library, the pnmt portal. That's pnmt.org. 

 

0:19:15.5 KC: Let's get back to our conversation. So Tina, one of the things you do is travel all over the world doing your good work. Tell us more about the Global Outreach program. What is that? What do you do. 

 

0:19:28.0 TA: We typically go to a country as a group. Once we've announced it, the team applies, we often receive thousands of applications for 30 to 40 member team, so when you hear that, please don't get worried if you ever want to apply. We read all the applications and people are chosen for a variety of reasons. So I don't want to discourage anyone from applying, and it depends on the team, where we're gonna go and what the needs are, so as we read all the applications and we've worked on this program, we choose the team and then we travel together to a country for usually three to four weeks, depending on getting around and making sure we provide enough time, and something that's unique and different to what we do is we not only go in and provide evaluation, assessment and treatment interventions, but we're educating. It's important to me that these programs are sustainable and they can be replicated, so we're not a group that pops in, gives a bunch of hugs and a couple of teddy bears and then takes a picture and see you later. It's not how it works at all. We go into work with populations that other people have stigmatized, so that's one thing that's very close to my heart, is to make sure people who others are scared to touch that we go to them. 

 

0:20:51.6 TA: So we've been really lucky to be invited to work in India in the slums, which may sound derogatory, and I definitely don't mean it in that way, and that's just the name of those areas, but a lot of people won't go into the slums because they're scared or they think people are unclean or different kinds of reasons I've heard. Well, that's not us, because everybody needs to be touched, so we go there, or we've worked in the leprosy village in India again, people are scared to go there, so we go. Or working with children with HIV/AIDS, that's a population that I've worked with quite a lot. And so just making sure that we reach those people who normally wouldn't have access to care, we've traveled inside the Philippines, I had the entire team hop on a ferry and go to an island for two days because I had heard that all of the children there that have different kinds of significant therapeutic needs, do not have any access to therapy. They may have one OT or one PT that goes to that specific Island, maybe once every four months, and no way to see the hundreds of children that need care. So we really do try to go into orphanages, hospitals, clinical settings, different places where we can reach as many people as possible, and we are different a little bit in that our focus is just working with the kids and working with the people who care for them. 

 

0:22:19.6 TA: We are not focused on ensuring that this mission, as some people might call it, is related to any specific political belief, religious beliefs, spiritual belief that has nothing to do with it. Our goal is to work with everyone who needs us regardless of that type of background, and our team reflects the same. So our group is always multi-generational, we have people of all different ages, we also have people from many different countries who join the team, and it's something that's just... It's amazing. And we've done it a number of times. We do it... I would normally say we do this every single year, except of course, with this pandemic, we've had to just put the program on a small pause until the world figures itself out a little bit, but we already have the next global outreach planning taking place right now, and as soon as the world settles down a little bit, we'll be ready to announce a down-set, so that's coming. 

 

0:23:17.5 DB: Wow. This is incredible. I love hearing all of this. Tina, I know our listeners are gonna wanna know about any differences that you see in touch culture throughout the world. Can you enlighten us a little bit?  

 

0:23:28.6 TA: I can tell you what I've noticed. So example one, in India, when we were invited there, and this was me and my thinking, baby massage comes from so many different countries, it doesn't come from the West, and one of the places that is considered a birthplace of baby massage is India. And that was one of my thinking or my big thought bubbles prior to going in was how would we introduce what we have to offer while at the same time honoring and respecting what's already been happening in that country for centuries and so mashing those two things together. 

 

0:24:07.5 TA: And this was something very cool that I noticed and I learned is there's a lot of touch that takes place in India as an example, a lot of back and forth with families and a lot of hand-holding and hugging and kissing and lovely touch among families and that's great. But when it came to massage as a modality or intervention, baby massage, as I mentioned, was used, but after the child was no longer deemed an infant, they would often stop using massage on a regular basis, and I thought that that was very interesting and sort of unusual. And so when I spoke via translator, which I do have to use to one of the grandmothers, she shared that with me and said after participating in our educational session that day, she was changing her belief. And I thought that was so cool because here's this woman, I don't, she's gotta be in her 70s and she's been doing whatever she said that she's learned for generation after generation, but now she wanted to change it in her belief, she thought the stronger you massage, the stronger it made the baby, which isn't necessarily true. 

 

0:25:18.7 TA: And actually could cause harm, and so very respectfully, we had a conversation around that and that was interesting to learn from her, their beliefs around touch was to provide the intervention in a stronger way, which is not what we advocate for, so that was interesting. In Japan, Japan is interesting in that as much as you might notice you ever look at anything or maybe some of you have been there on the train, everything is necessarily... Could be crowded, everybody is touching. They're almost on top of each other, but aside from that, they're a very low-touch culture. 

 

0:25:51.9 TA: So learning about that and then being... Having that ability to share touch with them is amazing. There was a time, I was up on a stage giving a lecture to quite a big audience in Japan, and I mentioned even the simple act of giving a hug, which isn't massage, but I wanted to introduce something knowing that background about low touch concept, hugging isn't a regular thing that takes place every day in Japan. And so I mentioned the benefit of just even giving a hug, and I said, "Any of you when you go home tonight, give your family member a hug." And left it at that, and I kinda waiting and then I opened my arms on the stage and I made sort of a joke, and I said, "You know, I'm here too, and in America, we hug, and if anybody wants a hug, come and see me." 

 

0:26:37.8 TA: Well, the break comes at the end of my talk, I'm over on the side, very typical in Japan, people come and wanna talk to and have a photo. That's fine, a cue. A long line forms. Then as people are coming up, the second person who came was a woman probably in her mid 30s and through my interpreter, she's asking something and I don't know. She's kinda shaking. She seems nervous. She asked for a hug, which I'm a hugger, so if you ask me for a hug, you're getting a hug and she asked for a hug, so I gave her a hug and she started shaking and she starts saying something in Japanese and my Japanese is better now, and it wasn't great at the time, but she says, "You know, I've never had a hug before." And I thought, "Wait what? You've never had a had before." And I asked through my interpreter, and I said, "Even from her family, her grandparents, anybody?" No. No one. That happened all day that day, people were lined up for hugs, I actually hug people for... I don't know, two, three hours, then I had to go and do another breakout session, and so I said, "Well, I'm sorry, I have to leave and I'll come back." 

 

0:27:42.3 TA: And I left, and when I came back, they were still waiting, so I think we hugged for, I don't know, six hours that day, which I'm happy to do, and I think was amazing. Now I changed it, now I don't stand on the stage and say, "I'm here, if you wanna hug." I say, "Okay, I'm gonna teach you how to give a hug, hug your neighbor." [laughter] That works really well. [chuckle] That works beautifully, but just to have that experience, I think those things have taught me a lot because there are these small little pieces of touch that you learned from different cultures. When I was teaching in Thailand, part of my baby massage, I teach a technique where I encourage parents to kiss the baby's foot, and in Thailand, a Buddhist belief, we don't kiss the feet. So I adapted, so that's not a problem. So I just had to adapt my teaching because I wanna respect and honor the culture as well, I think that's something that's very cool with touch-based interventions, you can always adapt something safely, that it honors a culture so that you are not only helping and benefiting by teaching them something new that they can apply, but at the same time changing it so that you're not over-stepping something that they would have a discomfort with. 

 

0:28:57.9 TA: So now I've learned a ton, I could go on and on. I mean, that's one of the things that I think you can't learn from a book, that's... You have to learn that from experience. 

 

0:29:08.5 KC: Tina, I'm sure you have thousands of stories about the impact and the power and the benefit of pediatric and infant massage, can you tell us just one of your favorite stories about working with one of your clients?  

 

0:29:24.7 TA: Only one. 

 

0:29:24.9 KC: I know. 

 

0:29:25.6 TA: Wow Kristin [laughter] I have to think here, what story to pull, while you write. And you know the... That's been... One thing you never know, maybe I'll write a whole book of all these stories because I do have so many, and unless I sit here and think about them, they're just these lovely little nuggets that go in your memory breaks. So in our global outreach program, as I mentioned, we have a team and I direct the team so that we're all working together collectively, and we all take our different backgrounds, professional and personal experience and blend it together to make this lovely super team. And so, we're in an orphanage and I'm going around and helping everybody on my team, placing them, placing them in different units and different wards to do figure out which kids to work with. And so after I have everybody place, I walk back to the baby ward, the infant ward, and as I'm in there, looking around and trying to figure out how I can be of use and be of service, I noticed a child who is not an infant, they are, my gestimation, because the staff didn't know their exact age, my gestimation is that the child is about six years old. They are in a crib and they are pulling to stand, and I asked this staff, "Why is this child in here?" Because they are in the infant ward, and they shouldn't be in the infant ward. 

 

0:30:41.8 TA: And they said, "Well, he can't walk. And he can't walk, so we can't put him with the big kids, the kids of his own sort of peer group, because we're afraid he'll be trampled." And I said, "He can't walk?" And they said, "No." Then I said, "Can I work with him?" And they said, "Sure." So they bring him under the crib for me and I start to work with him. And I'm doing some different kind of assessment evaluation and providing some therapy, and I call over one of my team members, one of my colleagues and I said, "Can you support me here for a second?" And here's... I explain what I wanna do, and she's supporting behind the child and I'm working with the lower extremities and probably within 40, 45 minutes, I start working with this child. Child, with support when being held, begins to walk. And the staff, [chuckle] of course, looks over and they're shocked and they're saying all kind of things, and I call 'em over and they ask, "What are you doing and how are you doing that and what is it?" And so I work with them and I do the same massage on them, so they can feel it, that's something I found that works really well when you're working in different countries with permission, don't just show, ask if you can, see if they can feel it because that's gonna stick in a whole much better. 

 

0:31:54.5 TA: So I started working with them, teaching them how to do it, relay the information, asked if they can take over for me. And they start working with the child. Well, cool fast forward is that child is not in the baby room anymore, that child is running all over that orphanage and playing with all the kids and with the proper peer group, so that the development is affected appropriately. So as much as that's message and touch therapy it's also about really acknowledging that they didn't know, and it wasn't anything negative on behalf of the caregivers. I would never say anything negative. It was just a lack of education. They didn't know how to. So to be able to demonstrate how to help them and for them to actually see it, because if they didn't see it, I'll say this, if you explain it only, and if you say, "Do this over time. Let's see what happens." They may not do it. 

 

0:32:46.4 TA: But to see it actually have sort of almost... It's almost like an immediate benefit, they were really inspired in the, you said. And so this kid is just doing great. I'm in very close contact with that facility and the child is doing amazing. So to me, that's the benefit is to be able to give the staff, the parents, whoever you're working with, especially the children, that ability to grow and thrive and really live their best life, that's, I think pediatric massage offers that. 

 

0:33:16.3 DB: Tina, I'm sure listeners are just riveted to everything you're saying, just like Kristin and I are right now, this has just been incredible. I know as we bring this podcast to a close, what advice do you have for practitioners who are interested in learning more?  

 

0:33:31.3 TA: Well, the first obviously, I would say, if any kind of information that you can read that you're curious about or interested in, don't stop, read it, question it, read and study a little on your own. And then try to get as much information as you can, and then of course, if you have ever any questions, please contact us, we would be very happy to try to point you in the correct direction or if we can provide something to help you, we're happy to do it. I would love to see more practitioners open their minds and their practices to working with children. I think that even though now we have so many providers educated in people doing the work, there are tons and tons of kiddos that have not yet been offered pediatric massage and touch therapy around the world. And I would love to see that in my lifetime change. So if we can support you in any way, we're very happy to. So please don't hesitate to reach out to The Liddle Kidz Foundation any time. 

 

0:34:34.7 DB: I wanna thank our guest today Tina Allen. For more information about the incredible work that Tina is doing, Visit liddlekidz.org/ABMP, that's L-I-D-D-L-E-K-I-D-Z.org/ABMP. Thanks, Tina. Thanks, Kristin. 

 

0:34:52.5 TA: Thank you so much, you both. It's been my great pleasure and I really appreciate ABMP for inviting me to be with you today. 

 

0:35:00.6 KC: Tina we were thrilled to have you with us today and we loved our conversation, but even more than that, we love all of the incredible work that you're doing around the world to support infant and pediatric clients. 

 

0:35:19.9 S1: Members are loving ABMP Five-Minute Muscles and ABMP Pocket Pathology. Two Quick Reference web apps included with ABMP membership. ABMP Five-Minute Muscles delivers muscle-specific palpation and technique videos plus origins insertions and actions for the 83 muscles most commonly addressed by body workers. ABMP Pocket Pathology created in conjunction with Ruth Werner puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips and provides the knowledge you need to help you make informed treatment decisions. Start learning today, ABMP members log in at ABMP.com and look for the links in the featured benefits section of your member home page. Not a member, learn about these exciting member benefits at ABMP.com/more.

News

Texas Massage Therapy Advisory Board Vacancies

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is looking to fill two vacancies on the Texas Massage Therapy Advisory Board with qualified applicants: one seat is open for a licensed massage therapist and one seat is open to a public member. Find out how you can apply!

New Hampshire Establishment Licensing Bill

The New Hampshire legislature introduced House Bill 341, which would create massage therapy establishment licensing. The bill is being heard by the Executive Departments and Administration Committee (Committee) at 10:45 a.m. EST on January 25. If you are opposed to establishment licensure, ABMP encourages you to advocate and speak your mind by emailing your opinions to the Committee.

Maryland Board of Massage Vacancies

The Maryland Department of Health is accepting nominations for three positions on the Maryland State Board of Massage Therapy Examiners. ABMP has the opportunity to nominate three professional members and is now accepting applications from licensed massage therapists. Apply before March 20, 2023.

Blog

Benefits

PODCAST: Pediatric Touch Therapy with Tina Allen

In this episode of The ABMP Podcast, Kristin and Darren speak with Tina Allen, founder of Liddle Kidz Foundation, about the differences between infant and pediatric massage and other topics.

Please note: We have recently updated our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Learn more...