In fact, there are multiple areas in which massage therapy can heal, comfort and even spurn growth for babies. Itʼs also important to note that affectionate touch and rhythmic movement are among the most powerful forms of communication between babies and their parents, so they're great ways to bond. When parents begin a massage with a baby on their back and an open hand on their tummy...they are also essentially asking permission which are the beginnings of trust building. As well studies have shown that infant massage is effective in increasing the mother–infant attachment. I can personally attest that I find it empowering to be able to attend to my childʼs health and ease any discomfort, with my own hands.
Babies noticibly find the gentle laying on of hands very relaxing which makes sense considering that of the five senses, touch is the one thatʼs most developed at birth. When you give your baby a massage, you're actually stimulating her central nervous system. This sets off a chain reaction: It makes her brain produce more serotonin, a feelgood chemical, and less cortisol, a hormone that's ecreted in response to stress. As a result, your baby's heart rate and breathing become regulated and calm. Studies suggest that infant massage may improve growth for premature babies. The reason being that essentially for pre-term infants, weight gain may be due to improved metabolic functioning or by reducing the adverse reaction of stress through decreasing stress hormones—a few of the many results acheived via massage therapy techniques. Outside of size and weight gain,infant massage treats a variety of baby specific issues...most notably colic, stresses related to developmental milestones, sleep disturbances and also can be helpful for infants who are differently abled.
A few details to keep in mind should you want to treat your baby at home: timing, temperature, and what oil you might use. A great time to provide massage treatment for your baby is when they are calmer and not overstimulated. Perhaps after a bath, or story before bed. Remember that as with anything else baby related, our little ones may not be in the mood for relaxing or healing massage, and they will certainly let us know. If choosing to use an oil, be sure it is safe for consumption, and hypoallergenic as babies are always putting their hands in their mouths. Make sure the space you are treating them in is warm, and not too stimulating.
Below is a more extensive list covering the indications of infant massage for both babies, and moms and dads as well. If you have any questions, or would like to book a massage session for your baby, including instructions for moms/dads on how to continue on with treatment for their little ones, please contact Rahel at A Touch Of Magick.
Benefits for babies:
- Improved interaction with family
- Stress reduction
- Improved sleep patterns
- Enhanced cognition and motor development
- Increased weight gain for premature babies
- Improved self-regulation for fussy or colicky babies
- Enhanced comfort for babies with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)
Benefits for parents:
- Better understanding and response to babyʼs cues
- Improved techniques to comfort, calm, and soothe baby
- Additional way to provide close, nurturing contact
- Relief from postpartum depression
- Natural and pleasant method to bond with baby
- Increased confidence in their ability to care for baby