Although it’s ideal to massage a child at the pre-crawling stage, it’s never too late to start massaging your children. Whether your child’s a newborn or several years old, massaging your baby is a lovely way to communicate and bond while boosting your child’s immune system and supporting their physical, emotional and psychological development.
Studies have shown that massaging an infant can significantly reduce babies crying, fussiness, increase the duration of sleep, ease teething pains and relieve symptoms of constipation and colic.
Research shows that babies that receive massage for 15 minutes a day cry 50% less after only two weeks.
Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine explains, "When you give your baby a massage, you're actually stimulating her central nervous system, 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."
There are numerous benefits to infant massage, for both the parents and the baby. First let’s discuss the primary benefits of massage, for the baby.
Benefits for the baby include:
- Desirable bonding, communicating love through touch for both emotional and physical health
- Relaxes and soothes baby, improves babies duration and quality of sleep by increasing levels of the oxytocin hormone
- Daily massage contributes to healthy child development, improving muscle tone and aiding growth
- Helps digestion, relieves symptoms of colic, gas, and constipation
- Stimulates speed of myelination – myelination enables nerve cells to transmit information faster and allows for more complex brain processes
- Research shows that Children who receive massage regularly thrive academically
Benefits for the parents include:
- Infant massage stimulates the feel good hormone Oxytocin in parent's and helps them relax
- The quiet relaxing time with your baby lowers your blood pressure, and minimizes stress
- Infant massage helps parents develop greater awareness of baby’s cues, which boost their confidence, and feel empowered as a parent
With my 8 years experience as a Registered Massage Therapist and my extensive training as a Certified Infant Massage Teacher, I am confident that I can answer any of your questions or concerns about infant and baby massage and its benefits.
- Martyna Colafranceschi, RMT, CIMT (CuddleKidz)