Baby massage has been practiced in various forms by parents and carers for centuries, in a number of cultures. When we look into the benefits of massage for babies, we are looking at more than just gentle strokes on the arms legs and back while we apply a lotion or oil. Many of the benefits come from specific types of strokes that come from methods such as swedish and indian massage. In our current fast paced society, it seems it is one simple and beneficial practice that is gradually being lost between the generations. Research has shown that baby massage can offer benefits to both babies and parents/carers in the short-term and long-term.
There have been many studies conducted into the positive effects of massage on babies, adults, parents and those suffering from a number of conditions. Here is a brief summary of some of those benefits.
Enhances Attachment and Bonding
Reduces Stress Hormone Levels in Babies
Improve Sleep Patterns
Boost the Immune System
Help in Relieving the Symptoms of Wind, Colic, Constipation and Reflux
Reduce Duration & Frequency of Periods of Crying
May Reduce Symptoms of Eczema
Enhances Emotions and Improves Mood
For information on how you can learn baby massage, see Baby Massage Classes and Pricing
1 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Adults demonstrate modified immune response after receiving massage, researchers show. ScienceDaily, 9 September 2010.
2 Massage Therapy by Mothers Enhances the Adjustment of Circadian Rhythms to the Nocturnal Period in Full-Term Infants. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: December 2002 – Volume 23 – Issue 6 – pp 410-415
3 Cortisol decreases and serotonin and dopamine increase following massage therapy. Int J Neurosci. Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Diego M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C. 2005 Oct;115(10):1397-413.
4 Field T, Grizzle N, Scafidi F, Abrams S, Richardson S. Massage Therapy for Infants of Depressed Mothers. Infant Behaviour and Development Vol.19, Issue 1, January–March 1996, Pages 107–112
5 Saskatchewen Early Childhood Mental Health Provincial Network E-News Edition 8 (2013)
6 Anderson C, Lis-Balchin M, Kirk-Smith M. Evaluation of massage with essential oils on childhood atopic eczema. Phytotherapy Research 2000 Sep;14(6):452-6.