Benefits of Infant Massage

 

"When you give your baby a massage, you're actually stimulating her central nervous system," explains Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. "That sets off a chain reaction: It makes her brain produce more serotonin, a feel-good chemical, and less cortisol, a hormone that's secreted in response to stress. As a result, your baby's heart rate and breathing slow down, and she becomes more relaxed. ”

 

“In general, children show lower anxiety and stress levels, better mood, improved sleep patterns, and higher levels of attentiveness when treated to daily massage by their parents,” Lise Eliot, PhD, neuro-scientist, mother and author of What’s Going On In There: The First Five Years. “The lesson to be learned from all these studies is clear: children thrive on touch and physical contact, particularly in the first few months of life.”

 

"Affectionate touch and rhythmic movement are among the most powerful forms of communication between babies and their parents, so they're great ways for you to bond," says K. Mark Sossin, PhD, director of the Parent-Infant Research Nursery at Pace University, in New York.

 

It’s easy to feel helpless with a newborn, but giving him a gentle 

rubdown can help you feel more in control," explains Elaine Fogel Schneider, PhD, author of Massaging Your Baby: The Joy of Touch Time.

Studies have shown massaging an infant can:

 

Reduce crying and fussiness:

• relax central nervous system

• slow down release of stress horomones (cortisol)

• improve mood, relaxation and attentiveness

 

Help baby sleep more peacefully:

• release melatonin, aiding in infant sleep patterns

• fewer sleep delay behaviors

• strong bedtime cue, enhancing coordination of the

developing circadian system (body’s internal clock)

 

Alleviate colic symtoms:

• relieve gas

• relieve constipation

• more effective than traditional medicine

 

Boost immune system/ability to fight off germs:

• boosting effects on T cells

• higher natural killer (NK) cytotoxicity

• increased daily weight gain

 

Increase weight gain for pre-term infants:

• 53% greater daily weight gain

• increased bone density

• use of oil enhances absorption of triglycerides

 

Enhance motor development and brain development:

• improved motor functioning • increased muscle tone

• may increase IQ

 

Reduce postpartum depression:

• improve mother-infant interaction

• effective treatment for maternal depression

 

*See references page (hover over "benefits" tab) that sites research studies that support these evidence based benefits of Infant Massage.

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