For centuries, massage therapy has been used to promote wellness and a healthy circulatory system, improve immune functions and release emotional stress. With the proper techniques and preparation, infants can enjoy these same health benefits.In many cultures throughout Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America, massaging infants is an age-old parenting practice. Mothers in India have been massaging their newborns since 3000 BC, much longer than their Western counterparts. There are many reasons for parents to consult a professional with massage therapy training specializing in infant massage. Some infants face various health problems, while others experience discomfort due to growing pains.
Massage therapy for infants can be a wonderful way to keep a baby healthy and happy, and the love, care and careful touch can benefit a baby’s heart, breathing, digestion and blood circulation. Massage therapy also helps babies relax and fall asleep, a side-effect that some parents are particularly thankful for!
Here are some important aspects of infant massages.
Caution is necessary when performing infant massages. Strokes must be made with delicacy in order to avoid hurting the infant. A registered massage therapist offering infant massage will have mastered various techniques to ensure that the infant is treated with the appropriate physical touch. Numerous studies have found that massage plays a significant role in promoting the proper growth and healthy development of infants. Physically, massage stimulates the nerves, increases blood flow and strengthens the immune system. It can relieve a host of childhood complaints from colic to constipation, help work out gas and regulate digestion. All of this can be accomplished with the proper techniques and level of care that a trained professional with massage therapy certification can provide.
Pediatricians have long known that touch can be highly beneficial to an infant’s development. Touch can be good for the brain, as studies have shown that infants who receive extra touch early in their development often go on to show enhanced neurological growth. Moreover, a study by the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami found that premature babies who received three 15-minute massages per day for five days showed a 53 percent greater daily weight gain than unmassaged infants. Lastly, touch can enhance the secretion of digestive hormones and helps an infant's digestive system work more efficiently. This means infants will be less likely to experience colds or diarrhea.
Studies have shown that one cause of colic is sensory overload. Massage therapy reduces the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which calms the senses and helps the infant remain healthy and happy. A stressed infant will be more likely to cry, which is why the proper touch and care by a trained professional at the right time can make all the difference in the world.