Pediatric massage instructor Tina Allen, L.M.T., C.P.M.M.T., C.P.M.T., C.I.M.T., is teaching and promoting healthy touch to child-care providers in Oklahoma’s Native American nations. Providing a space for safe touch and healthy

boundaries, she says, will help empower native children to have a better future.

“Clinical research has shown that massaging a child can aid in [children’s] physiological and neurological development and function, help soothe common discomforts, promote restful sleep, and increase healthy attachment and bonding,” Allen told MASSAGE Magazine. “Additional studies have demonstrated that with the use of massage and healthy touch, children may learn to have better self-image, increased self-worth and improvements in appropriate emotional, cognitive and physical development.”

The nine nations she is working with in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, are: Ottawa, Seneca, Modoc, Miami, Eastern Shawnee, Shawnee, Quapaw, Wyandotte and Peoria

Poverty and health disparities are challenges experienced by some Native American people in Oklahoma, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).Twelve percent more Native American adults live below the federal poverty level, as compared with Caucasian Americans, the CDC noted, and geographic isolation can also contribute to economic and health disparities.

During Allen’s pediatric massage classes, participants—caregivers and Early Childhood Educators—learn about the benefits of infant and pediatric massage therapy; when not to massage; simple techniques that can be applied at home; and nurturing touch techniques that can be used in early education settings, Allen explained.

“The [massage] information provided not only includes evidence-informed data and simple tactile techniques, but also a strong theme of storytelling usage in children’s massage,” Allen said. “With the permission of the nations, I am using Native American stories and cultural information, to adapt traditional tribal stories into massage stories [spoken words combined with touch] that are a developmentally appropriate blending of healthy touch and cultural storytelling.”

Allen, who is a tribal citizen of the Wyandotte Nation, is continuing the teaching to the nations through mid-September. She is also is founder and director of the Liddle Kidz Foundation (, and has written for MASSAGE Magazine on topics including massage for children with autism spectrum disorders and father-baby bonding through infant massage. 

Allen said the nations’ educators in the toddler-care arena have begun implementing story massage as part of daily curriculum, and noticing they can help babies and young toddlers get to sleep more quickly at naptime by using massage.

Karen Menehan is MASSAGE Magazine’s editor in chief.

If you enjoyed reading this MASSAGE Magazine online article, SUBSCRIBE to the print magazine for more articles about massage news, techniques, self-care, research, business and more, delivered monthly. SUBSCRIBE to our e-newsletter for additional unique content, including product announcements and special offers.

Get in Touch with us


To schedule an appointment or send us a message, please fill out the form and we will get back to you or call us at 206-441-7984.


Your Name(*)
Please let us know your name.

Your Email(*)
Please let us know your email address.

Please let us know your message.

Verify the Code(*)
Verify the Code
RefreshInvalid Input



Belltown Spine & Wellness, an integrated health and spinal rehabilitation center, has helped thousands of people over the past 22 years regain their health and vitality through their natural, integrated approach to health and wellness in the greater Seattle area. Our services, which include chiropractic, spinal rehabilitation, massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathic medicine and medical weight-loss are customized and targeted for each individual's health goals. Our signature 4-step program is specifically designed to help patients recover from neck and back pain chronic conditions. This system, created by Dr. Scott Mindel, Seattle chiropractor and owner of Belltown Spine & Wellness draws on the latest rehabilitation techniques available today.


10:00 am - 1:00 pm
3:00 pm - 7:00 pm
3:00 pm - 7:00 pm

10:00 am - 1:00 pm


By appointment only