Each week as part of my Mom and Baby Yoga class I teach infant massage. If you have ever been curious as to the reasons that I include this as an important part of the class, then here they are.
Benefits of Baby Massage
• Promotes healthy interaction between parent and infant.
• Proven to help infants become more active and alert.
• The stimulation from massage creates better neural connections in the baby’s brain.
• Loving touch triggers physiological changes that help infants grow by stimulation nerves in the brain that facilitate food absorption.
• Baby is healthier – massage lowers stress hormones levels resulting in an improved immune system.
• Gives babies an experience of love through touch.
• Helps babies to sleep better (deeper and longer) due to the release of tension in their bodies.
• Increases a sense of love, acceptance, respect and trust.
• Reduces discomfort from teething, congestion, gas, colic and emotional stress. It can help to disperse gas, ease muscle spasm, tone the digestive system and help it to work efficiently.
• Improves muscle tone and coordination. It also stimulates blood flow – when you massage someone you will feel the area you are working on become warmer.
• Helps babies maintain steady oxygen levels when subjected to stress.
• One of the earliest communication forms of communication between baby and parent.
• Babies become more aware of their physical body and encourages mid-line orientation
The Touch Research Institute is continually replicating studies, which prove that babies with all different sorts of problems heal faster and better when loving touch massage is applied.
Benefits for parents
• Parents become more aware of their baby and baby’s needs and brings out nurturing qualities in parents.
• Aids in the bonding process between baby and parent. Parents feel that they get to know their child better.
• The person giving the massage relaxes as the baby relaxes.
Ps. Older kids benefit from massage as well, but you may need to get creative. My older two will lay still for massage only if it is accompanied by a story. For toddlers you might even “draw” the story on their body. Julia loved it when Nemo got chased around by Bruce the Shark. When I did Nemo it was a light touch, and Bruce the Shark was a deeper massaging touch.