Infants have been massaged across civilizations since the beginning of time. It is natural, wonderful, and very beneficial. Touch is necessary for infants to thrive. Sadly, orphanages in the early 20th century proved this true as children who were simply fed but given no human contact failed to thrive and died. Proven research from the Touch Institute at the University of Miami shows the numerous health and healing benefits of massage not only for the baby but for the caregiver as well.
The lead researcher at the Touch Institute, Tiffany Field, Ph.D has published a book, Touch, with many examples of how massage benefits people of all ages, including extensive research on infant massage.
In one study on massage for infants with disturbed sleep paterns and mothers with depression, research found that 15minutes of massage per day improved babies' sleep patterns and helped the depressed mothers to play more with their babies. (1)
- Creates stonger relationship between parent and baby
- Decreases levels of circulating stress hormones
- Increases in levels of circulating growth hormone which helps baby absorb nutrients better
This is especially significant for premature babies.
- Promotes better communication between parent and baby
- Improves gastrointestinal function
- Reduces discomfort from colic, gas, teething, and congestion
- Improves immune system function
- Improves sense of well being of parent by reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and improving overall health (2)
For more information consult:
Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine: Visit Touch Research Institute
Touch by Tiffany Field. Bradford Books, 2003
(1) Page 125
The Loving Touch Foundation
Touching: The Human Significance of the Skin by Ashley Montagu. Harper & Row Publishers, Inc., 1986
The Fussy Baby Book: Parenting Your High-Need Child From Birth to Age Five. by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N. Little, Brown and Company, 1996.