Benefits of Massage Therapy – Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy 


A motor disorder, originating in the central nervous system, that causes muscle weakness that affects movement and muscle tone.  


CP is caused by damage to the brain during prenatal development. How this damage occurs is poorly understood.1 

Symptoms / physical effects:  

Effects from CP can be mild to severe. Signs and symptoms appear during infancy or preschool years. Cerebral palsy typically causes impaired movement, floppiness or spasticity (very stiff muscles that often appear unable to move) of the limbs and trunk, unusual posture, involuntary movements, unsteady walking, or some combination of these. Muscle pain is also a common symptom for people with CP. 2,3 

How MT can help: 

Studies have shown that passive range of motion and specialized techniques such as joint mobilization can help improve movement for people with CP.4   Chronic pain management is another area in which massage therapists can help clients with CP and people with CP report a decrease in their pain with general massage therapy treatments. 5 


  1. Damjanov, I. (2017). Pathology for the Health Professionals 5th ed. Elsevier Inc. P.459. 
  2. MyoClinic ( 
  3. Herting, D, and Kessler, R. (2006). Management of Common Musculoskeletal Disorders: Physical Therapy Principles and Methods 4th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins p.54. 
  4. Youn, P.S.; Cho, K.H.; Park, S.J. Changes in Ankle Range of Motion, Gait Function and Standing Balance in Children with Bilateral Spastic Cerebral Palsy after Ankle Mobilization by Manual Therapy. Children 2020, 7, 142. 
  5. Hirsh AT, Kratz AL, Engel JM, Jensen MP. Survey results of pain treatments in adults with cerebral palsy. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Mar;90(3):207-16. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e3182063bc9. PMID: 21273894; PMCID: PMC3036542. 
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