Benefits of Infant Massage and Infant Massage Classes
Infant, baby and child massage is not only fun, but it has many benefits. As an instructor of infant massage I have found that new parents, especially the dads, find this new activity something new and exciting to do rather than just change diapers. Whether your child is six months old or six years old it is never too late to begin massage. Expectant parents can take infant massage instruction before their baby is born, so that they are ready to begin massaging their baby from the first moment that baby is laid upon the mother’s chest during the first hour of his/her life.
There are many benefits to massaging our children. The happiest people in the world are from India. Not only are their mothers massaged daily during pregnancy and for weeks after delivery, but their children are first massaged by their grandmothers or caregivers. Then the massage process is taught to the new mothers and they continue the daily massages.
In a study by Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in the UK, women with postpartum depression have been helped by massaging their infants. To read this article click here.
According to the International Loving Touch Foundation:
Benefits for infants, babies and children include the following:
- Provides a special time of communication that fosters love, compassion, and respect
- Improves general well-being
- Provides an intimate time for children to confide in parents
- Improves overall functioning of the gastrointestinal tract
- Promotes relaxation and helps babies self-regulate calm, which reduces crying
- Helps to normalize muscle tone
- Improves circulation
- Enhances immune system function
- Improves midline orientation
- Helps to improve sensory and body awareness
- Enhances neurological development
- Helps baby/child to sleep deeper and more soundly
- Helps to increase oxygen and nutrient flow to cells and improves respiration
- Helps to improve pain management, which can relieve discomfort from teething
- Helps with congestion, gas, and colic
- Enhances hormone release in the body. In underweight babies, the growth hormone can be stimulated which helps weight gain. When babies are overweight, massage helps normalize hormones.
- Reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone
- Massage provides all of the essential indicators of intimate parent-infant bonding and attachment: eye-to-eye, touch, voice, smell, movement, and thermal regulation.
- Stimulates all of the physiological systems. Massage sparks the neurons in their brains to grow and branch out to encompass other neurons.
Benefits for parents and primary caregivers include:
- Provides all of the essential indicators of intimate parent-infant bonding and attachment: eye-to-eye, touch, voice, smell, movement, and thermal regulation.
- Encourages pre-verbal communication between caregiver and infant
- Helps parents feel more confident and competent in caring for their children
- Helps parents to ease their stress if they are a working parent and must be separated from their children for extended periods during the day
- Provides parents with one-on-one quiet time or interactive play with their children
- Creates a regular time of intimacy between parent and child.
- Increases parents’ self-esteem by reinforcing and enhancing their skills as parents, and validates their role
- Gives parents the tools for understanding their child’s unique rhythms and patterns
- Teaches parents how to read their infants’ cues and recognize their states of awareness
- Gives parents a special way to interact with their children who may be hospitalized, and helps parents feel a greater part of the healing process
- Daily massage helps parents to unwind and relax
- Provides a positive way for fathers to interact with their infants/children
Infant, Baby and Child Massage Classes
As a Loving Touch International, Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI®), I am pleased to offer Infant, Baby and Child Massage classes. Massage classes are for parents, expectant parents, or caregivers.
Massage classes are a fun way for you, your partner or other caregiver, and your baby to be around other parents and their children.
Expectant parents can take infant massage instruction before their baby is born, so that they are ready to begin massaging their baby from the first moment that baby is laid upon the mother’s chest during the first hour of his/her life. The same soft dolls are used as a stand-in for baby before it arrives. See Note below.
Learning massage in this environment bring a sense of community to all who participate. In the class, you will learn a great routine that you can use on all of your children. You will learn the benefits of each type of massage stroke. Additionally, your children will be able to feel your heart coming through your hands, increasing your special bond.
Private massage instruction is available for parents who cannot attend or prefer not to attend in a group setting. This type of instruction has the advantage of being quieter and more concentrated, but misses out on the community.
Massage is done when the infant/baby/child is in a quiet and alert state. If you arrive at the class and baby is sound asleep or is not in the mood for the massage, we will use dolls as stand-ins so that everyone can practice. These are soft-bodied dolls. From the start we want to teach our children that we honor their personal space and if they are not in the mood to be touched, they have the right to say no.
What to bring
A full diaper bag, including a bottle if necessary, and a blanket or towel to lay the child on. Massage tends to make people thirsty whether they are 3 days, 3 years or 30 years old. Be prepared to feed and change them after their massage.
Group classes meet the second Tuesday of each month at 6pm. Classes may be repeated as many times as you want. These classes are fun and a great way to meet other parents.
Private Instruction is available during my regular business hours.