Review Article

Applications of Massage in Children from the Perspective of Persian Medicine


In Persian medicine (PM), massage is one of the principles for maintaining health.  This study presents the viewpoint of PM about massage in pediatrics and the scientific evidence for its efficacy.  The PM textbooks including Canon of Medicine, Mufarrah al-qulub, Kholase-alHekmah, Kholase-al-Tajareb, Tadbir al-hobali val atfal va-sebyan, Exir-e-Azam, Ehya-al-Atfal, Risalat-al-Dallakieh were reviewed for applications of massage in children. The keywords were Dalk, Ghamz, rubbing, and massage. The effectiveness of PM recommendations for massage in modern medicine was searched in Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus and science direct, SID, and Magiran with the keywords massage, pediatrics, and children. The selection criteria were clinical trials or reviews on pediatric massage in English or Persian language without time limitation. Applications of pediatric massage in PM which scientific articles approve their efficacy include facilitating the growth, development, and weight gain, reducing muscle and joint pain, relieving colic and bloating, helping to treat skin dryness, and convulsion. Other applications including sore throats, colds, vomiting, and eye aberrations are needed to be evaluated in clinical studies.

Breuner CC. Complementary medicine in pediatrics: a review of acupuncture, homeopathy, massage, and chiropractic therapies. Curr probl pediatr & adolesc health care 2002;10:353-384.

Field T. Massage therapy. Med Clin North Am 2002;1:163-171.

Field T. Massage therapy research review. Complement ther clin pract 2014;4:224-229.

Field T. Pediatric Massage Therapy Research: A Narrative Review. Child 2019;6:78.

Naseri M, Jafari F, Alizadeh M. Principles of health in Persian Medicine. J Trad Med Islam & Iran 2010;1:39-44.

Jaladat AM, Nimrouzi M, Karimi M, Hashemi M. Massage therapy in Iranian traditional medicine. J Rehabil Med 2012;3:51-62.

Chaghmini M. Mufarrah al-qulub. Lahoor: Matbae Eslamieh 2015; pp 359-376.

Aghili-Khorasani M. Kholase-al-Hekmah. Esmailian. Qom 2006; pp 153-160.

Karim-Khan E. Risalat-al-Dallakieh.Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Tehran 2008; p 50.

Hamedani A. Ehya-al-Atfal. Iran University of Medical Sciences. Tehran 2003; pp 56-158.

Bahaodolleh B. Kholase-al-Tajareb. Iran University of Medical Sciences. Tehran 2003; p 72.

Baladi A. Tadbir al-hobali val atfal va-sebyan. Dar-al-rashid. Baghdad 1980; pp 207-214, 275, 294-319.

Nazem-Jahan M. Exir-e-Azam. Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine. Tehran 2008; pp 64, 410-440.

Ibn-Sina H. Canon of Medicine. Iran University of Medical Sciences. Tehran 2007; pp 181-182.

Jaladat AM, Attarzadeh F, Charum M, Nimroouzi M. Dalk in “Tohfe Saadie”. J Med Hist 2013;14:49-66.

Field T, Diego M, Hernandez-Reif M. Moderate pressure is essential for massage therapy effects. Int J Neurosci 2010;5:381-385.

Field T. Newborn massage therapy. Int J Ped & Neo Heal 2017;2:54-64.

Fallah R, Karbasi SA, Golestan M, Fromandi M. Sunflower oil versus no oil moderate pressure massage leads to greater increases in weight in preterm neonates who are low birth weight. Early Hum Develop 2013;9:769-772.

Field T. Infant massage therapy research review. Clin Res Pediatr 2018;2:1-9.

Lu W-P, Tsai W-H, Lin L-Y, Hong R-B, Hwang Y-S. The beneficial effects of massage on motor development and sensory processing in young children with developmental delay: a randomized control trial study. Developl Neurorehabil 2019;7:487-495.

Bahrami H, Kiani MA, Noras M. Massage for infantile colic: review and literature. Int J Pediatr 2016;6:1953-1958.

Perry R, Leach V, Penfold C, Davies P. An overview of systematic reviews of complementary and alternative therapies for infantile colic. Syst rev 2019;1:271.

Mazlum S, Chaharsoughi NT, Banihashem A, Vashani HB. The effect of massage therapy on chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in pediatric cancer. Iran J Nursing & Midwifery Res 2013;4:280.

Bromley D. Abdominal massage in the management of chronic constipation for children with disability. Community Pract 2014;12:25-29.

Gao L, Jia C, Huang H. Paediatric massage for treatment of acute diarrhoea in children: a meta-analysis. BMC Complement & Altern Med 2018;1:257.

Chen S-C, Ho Y-S, Suen LK-P, Yu J, Tang W, Jiang J-F. Traditional chinese medicine (TCM) massage for the treatment of congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) in infants and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2020:10:1112.

Rasool F, Memon AR, Kiyani MM, Sajjad AG. The effect of deep cross friction massage on spasticity of children with cerebral palsy: A double-blind randomised controlled trial. J Pak Med Assoc 2017;1:87-91.

Silva LM, Schalock M, Garberg J, Smith CL. Qigong massage for motor skills in young children with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. Am J Occup Ther 2012;3:348-355.

Da Cunha Batalha LM, Mota AA. Massage in children with cancer: effectiveness of a protocol. J Pediatr 2013;6:595-600.

Field T, Hernandez M. Sleep problems in infants decrease following massage therapy. Early Child Develop Care 2001;1:95-104.

Schachner L, Field T, Hernandez‐Reif M, Duarte AM, Krasnegor J. Atopic dermatitis symptoms decreased in children following massage therapy. Pediatr dermatol 1998;5:390-395.

Field T. Massage therapy for skin conditions in young children. Dermatol Clin 2005;4:717-721.

Peebles CT, McAuley JW, Roach J. Alternative medicine use by patients with epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav 2000; 1:74–77.

Saxena VS, Nadkarni VV. Nonpharmacological treatment of epilepsy. Ann Indian Neurol 2011;14:148-152.

Dalal K, Devarajan E, Pandey RM, Subbiah V, Tripathi M. Role of reflexology and antiepileptic drugs in managing intractable epilepsy--a randomized controlled trial. Forsch Komplement Med 2013;20:104-111.

Diego MA, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M. Temperature increases in preterm infants during massage therapy. Infant Behav Develop 2008;1:149-152.

Özdemir S, Yildiz S. The Effects of Massage on the Weight Gain of Preterm Infants: A Systematic Review. J Trad Med Complement Ther 2019;1:33-41.

Field T, Diego M, Hernandez-Reif M. Potential underlying mechanisms for greater weight gain in massaged preterm infants. Infant Behav Development 2011;3:383-389.

Diego MA, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M. Preterm infant weight gain is increased by massage therapy and exercise via different underlying mechanisms. Early hum develop 2014;3:137-140.

Tekgündüz KŞ, Gürol A, Apay SE, Caner İ. Effect of abdomen massage for prevention of feeding intolerance in preterm infants. Italian J Pediatr 2014;1:89.

Wu J, Yang X-W, Zhang M. Massage therapy in children with asthma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med 2017;2017.

Boneberger S, Rupec RA, Ruzicka T. Complementary therapy for atopic dermatitis and other allergic skin diseases: facts and controversies. Clin dermatol 2010;1:57-61.

Nelson NL. Massage therapy: understanding the mechanisms of action on blood pressure. A scoping review. J Am Soc Hypertens 2015;10:785-793.

Miwa S, Kamei M, Yoshida S, Yamada S, Aiba H, Tsuchiya H. Local dissemination of osteosarcoma observed after massage therapy: a case report. BMC Cancer 2019;1:993.

Wang J-Y, Wu P-K, Chen PC-H, Yen C-C, Hung G-Y, Chen C-F. Manipulation therapy prior to diagnosis induced primary osteosarcoma metastasis--from clinical to basic research. PLoS One 2014;5:e96571.

Yin P, Gao N, Wu J, Litscher G, Xu S. Adverse events of massage therapy in pain-related conditions: a systematic review. Evid- Based Complement Altern Med 2014;2014:480956.

IssueVol 5, No 4, 2020 QRcode
SectionReview Article(s)
Massage Pediatrics Child Traditional medicine Persian medicine

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Behdad F, Hashem-Dabaghian F. Applications of Massage in Children from the Perspective of Persian Medicine. Trad Integr Med. 2020;5(4):212-220.