Occupational therapy is a holistic approach to healing that goes beyond traditional preventive or rehabilitation therapy. Massage therapy is an area of treatment within occupational therapy that can be extremely beneficial for occupational health. Massage can be used to reduce pain, stress, and muscle tension, as well as improve range of motion and posture. It can also reduce cortisol, a stress-related hormone, allowing individuals to feel a reduction in anxiety, stress, and depression.
Certified massage therapists have knowledge of anatomy and various forms of pressure, allowing them to focus on patients' areas of tension and injury. Pain can also be reduced by applying massages due to a reduction in muscle tension, scar tissue, and fascial tension. Massage can reduce acute pain by increasing tissue temperature, which is achieved by stimulating vasodilation and increasing blood circulation. Having a child receive a massage before the occupational therapy session can often help reduce anxiety, sensory integration, body awareness, calmness, and concentration, which can improve the outcome of the occupational therapy session.
In the treatment of carpal tunnel and rotator cuff injuries, the shoulder and forearm - which include massage techniques - are essential to reduce swelling, tenderness, and pain. Soft tissue massage and electrotherapy can work very well for clients with chronic pain when used properly. Applying moderate to deep massage movements that involve a variation in longitudinal and kneading movements can reduce muscle tension. Physical therapy may also include massage therapy, heat therapy, and other alternative modes of treatment. Amy and I and many others (OT Australia, APA) who gave recommendations for the Tune review noted that massage and electrotherapy alone are not very effective on their own for pain control.
To better collaborate, it's important to know what each professional does and how massage therapy can help treat pediatric patients.