Anxiety (Panic)/DepressionChildrenMassageStress

Treating aggression in preschool children

 It “could be an easy and inexpensive way to decrease aggression and abnormal behavior among preschool children,” according to researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden.

First, the details.

  • 110 children 4- to 5-years-old, with aggression and deviant (abnormal) behavior at day-care centers were studied for 12 months.
  • Children were assigned to one of 2 groups.
    • Daily massage in preschool at the midday rest.
    • Listening to a story (control).
  • The Child Behavior Checklist was used to rate the children’s behavior before the treatment started, and after 3 and 6 months.
  • A long-term evaluation was carried out in the 34 massaged children still in daycare after 12 months.

And, the results.

  • Massage and/or extra attention in children with the greatest behavior problems resulted in a significant decrease in aggression after 3 months.
  • But after 6 months significantly improvement was found only in massage-treated abnormal children.
  • Parents of massaged children reported a significant decrease of physical problems.
  • Social problems in massaged children decreased compared to the control group.
  • And attention problems tended to decrease, especially at home.
  • Over 12 months there was a continuous decrease in aggressive behavior and physical problems in massaged children.

The bottom line?
These results support a 16-year-old study in 52 hospitalized depressed and adjustment disorder children and adolescents. Compared with a control group that viewed relaxing videotapes, a 30-minute back massage over 5 days resulted in less depression and anxiousness. There were also lower saliva cortisol levels — suggesting less stress — after the massage.

9/13/08 20:42 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.