Infant massage has been practiced by other cultures for centuries. This ancient art was brought to the United States in the 1970′s, after a Mother had experienced the positive effects that it had on infants in India. She practiced the strokes on her own child and realized the benefits first hand. She was so moved by the experience that she founded the International Association of Infant Massage. My children have enjoyed the benefits of infant massage since they were days old.
What are the benefits of infant massage?
* Enhances Bonding
Touch conveys nurturing and love, the essential ingredients for emotional and physical growth and well being.
* Relaxes Infant
Loving touch lessens tension, fussiness and irritability. Digestion is aided and this can provide relief of gas and colic. Massage is also a wonderful way to lessen stress for the parent.
* Improves Baby’s Sleep
As your infant learns to relax and release stress, sounder and longer sleep is often the end result.
* Aids Growth and Development
Studies have shown increased weight gain, and immune function. Myelination of nerves is also increased. These things in turn are needed for brain and muscle development.
* Promotes Communication
Parents become more aware of baby’s nonverbal cues. One-on-one communication instills a message of love and security. In certain cultures the Mother is in constant body contact with the child. The Mother can determine how the infant feels by the tension, position or its movements . They even know when the infant is going to urinate or move its bowels.
* General Health
Research conducted at various institutes with infants exposed to drugs in utero, and infants that had motor problems showed benefits from infant massage. These included weight gain, neurological development, decreased hospitalization, and improved digestion.