At the beginning of the summer I took an infant massage class to become a certified infant massage instructor. The class was impressive and I learned so much that I thought you may enjoy a few facts about the benefits of infant massage from the International Loving Touch Foundation.
I expected infant massage to be complex, but found that it can be completed simply as a part of a parent and child’s daily routine.
Infant Massage Basics
Loving Touch describes infant massage as the postive interaction between caregiver and infant using systematic manual manipulation of soft tissues of the body.
Infant massage promotes bonding and attachement between parent and child as they share a quiet and peaceful time together. As the parent interacts with their child and learns the baby’s cues it increases confidence in their parenting skills. For the baby it is relaxing and decreases stress levels. It can improve digestion, congestion, and circulation. Research with pre-term infants shows that massage can impact weight gain.
Massage supports early communication and social development as the parent talks and interacts with their baby; and as they listen to and gaze at each other. As the child attends to the parent, attention and eye contact are encouraged. Physically, it promotes circulation of the blood and lymphatic system, it tones and increases the flexibility of joints.
Loving Touch teaches instructors to guide parents throught massage strokes. Instructors demonstrate the strokes on a doll as the parents complete the strokes on their child. The use of a light, natural organic oil such as sunflower, apricot, or grapeseed oil is recommended. Please check out their website for resources and their online store as well.
I have only provided a small informational ‘snack’ that I hope has increased your interest about infant massage. For more detailed information here are a few resources:
:: If you are interested in becoming a certified infant massage instructor or would like to find an instructor to teach you infant massage, check out the International Loving Touch Foundation’s website for more information.
:: The Touch Research Institute has completed extensive research about the importance of touch. You can find professional studies at this website.
:: A book with beautiful photograhs that describes basic infant massage is “Baby Massage: The Calming Power of Touch” by Dr. Alan Heath and Nicki Bainbridge. I love it.
:: Another book with detailed research is “The Vital Touch”by Dr. Sharon Heller, PhD
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