As adults, many of us enjoy a good massage. Perhaps it’s to relieve tension after a stressful day, maybe it’s to help us loosen sore muscles and improve movement, or simply as a form of relaxation. But did you know that infants can benefit from massage, too?
Massaging your baby just 10 minutes a day creates lifelong benefits for both baby and caregiver.
- It is relaxing and strengthens bonding for both baby and caregiver.
- It promotes brain growth.
- It helps relieve baby’s tummy distress.
- It encourages better sleep.
- It facilitates weight gain.
- It promotes development of baby’s motor skills.
What exactly is infant massage?
Infant massage is a wonderful way to learn about and communicate with your baby through loving touch. Massaging your baby contributes to baby’s emotional security and healthy sense of self. Touch research shows that massaging babies lowers their stress hormones, facilitates food absorption, and stimulates hormones important for growth and immunity.
It is an ancient practice implemented by many cultures throughout the world. The massage routine practiced by certified educators in the United States comprises elements of Indian and Swedish massage, as well as reflexology and yoga.
- Taking a hands-on course in infant massage will guide you through research-based routines. To learn more or to find an instructor in your area, visit infantmassageusa.org.
- For additional reading, check out “Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents” by Vimala McClure.
- Read more about the Touch Research Institute and the research on the benefits of infant massage.
– Jill Thomson, L.M.S.W., IMH-E, CEIM, is an infant massage instructor working in the metro Detroit area. She is also a Parenting Program volunteer.