Sunday, 8 November 2015

The Many Benefits of Infant Massage

Updated 5 September 2016

Massage has been proven to have many benefits both mental and physical. These benefits can be extended to infants, toddlers, and children as well. It's never too late to start massaging your baby. Some parents make it part of their bedtime routine. Infants aren't able to sit still for long and massages may only last five minutes or so. However, even this short time provides lots of benefits.

Born to Play has free handouts about how to give infant massage. You can watch a short infant massage at the end of Thalasso Bain Bebe par Sonia Rochel which is based on the principles of Fredrick Leboyer, famous for his book Birth Without ViolenceThere are plenty of books and videos available for you to learn about infant massage. Some birthing professionals might offer baby massage classes or be able to recommend someone who does. You could also try asking at your hospital or clinic.

According to the IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage), Loving Touch, and Infant Massage USA, infant massage can help by stimulating, relaxing, providing relief, and helping with bonding. Below you can find some of the mental and physical benefits of infant massage.

Keep in mind that as with other massage therapist specialisations, there is no licensing, certification, or verification to teach infant massage. Those who are already massage therapists are legally allowed to call themselves infant massage therapists. Those are aren't massage therapists can only legally call themselves infant massage instructor and cannot touch other people's babies. They can only demonstrate on dolls or their own baby. 

Mental Benefits
  • Promotes bonding through eye contact, touch, voice, smell, movement, and thermal regulation
  • Assists with verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Develops trust
  • Stimulates the senses
  • Provides a special time that shows love, respect, compassion, and being valued
  • Helps with moods
  • Reduces stress hormones
  • Stimulates mind and body awareness
  • Reduces crying
  • Enhances brain development by sparking nuerons
  • Stimulates learning and concentration

Physical Benefits
  • Stimulates circulatory, hormonal, digestive, and immune systems
  • Stimulates coordination and balance 
  • Improves the flow of oxygen
  • Stimulates muscular growth and development
  • Relieves gas, colic, constipation
  • Assists with bowel movements
  • Relieves growing pains
  • Relieve teething pains
  • Improves sleep and regulates their sleep-wake cycle
  • Improves flexibility and muscle tone

Benefits for the Parents or Caregivers
According to Loving Touch, here are a few of the benefits the parents or caregivers get by massaging their baby.
  • Promotes bonding through eye contact, touch, voice, smell, movement, and thermal regulation
  • Encourages pre-communication
  • Helps parents feel more confident in their parenting abilities
  • Eases stress, especially for working parents who are separated from their babies for extended periods of time
  • Helps parents learn and respond to their baby's cues
  • Provide one-on-one quiet time
  • Creates a routine
  • Gives fathers a way to interact with their babies

Online Classes
Here are some online classes to learn how to become a baby massage instructor.
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Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.


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