Let’s talk about a topic that is near and dear to me: Massage.
Out of curiosity, I took a poll amongst a random sample of people and asked them if they’d rather have a mani-pedi or a relaxing massage. A whopping 96% of the enthusiastic responses voted for massage! The enthusiasm for massage seems to be the same in the general population, out of all of people I encountered during my time in massage college, 98% of the people I met enjoyed massages.
When most people think about the concept of massage, they picture an adult receiving a relaxing massage and they rarely picture an infant or a child as the recipient. This is something that needs to change. Massage offers numerous benefits for adults, but it offers even more for infants and children. Why? Because not only does the infant or child receive many wonderful benefits from the massage, but their caregiver who provides the massage also receives many wonderful benefits as well! It’s win-win!
Some of the benefits that massage can provide for infants include:
*Aids in the bonding process which helps to build trust, love, respect and self-esteem
*Helps to increase and improve sleep patterns
*Stimulates the release of oxytocin (“the blissful hormone”)
*May increase IQ and help reach milestones faster
*Aids in communication and nurturing interaction by providing skin to skin contact, eye contact and tactile (touch) stimulation
*Aids in neurological development including cognitive, motor & sensory functions
*Helps to relieve tension and may increase the baby’s ability to self-soothe
*Skin to skin contact and eye contact send soothing messages to the infant’s system
*May help to decrease colic
*Helps to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels
*Aids in proprioception (awareness of their entire body and how it fits together)
Some of the benefits that massage can provide for caregivers include:
*Facilitates bonding between the baby and the caregiver
*Helps caregivers to relax and stimulates the release of oxytocin (“the blissful hormone”) and prolactin (regulates immune and endocrine functions)
*Helps caregivers feel more confident and competent caring for their child, which promotes following their intuition and meeting baby’s needs effectively
*Helps develop trust and enhance caregiver’s respect for their child
*Can help to decrease stress levels associated with caring for baby
*Can reduce blood pressure and improve sense of well-being
*Improves the ability to be in tune with baby’s needs and enhances the ability to interpret verbal & non-verbal cues
*Allows focused, quality time with the baby which provides nurturing interaction
Massage is a natural method that has been proven by scientific research to offer physical, mental and emotional benefits. Massage isn’t just for certain people, this is knowledge that everyone can benefit from. It is valuable for every single person and is a skill that caregivers have been practicing for centuries in order to significantly aid themselves and their children. Once you learn the skills and techniques that are necessary to perform an effective massage, you will have the potential to reap so many physical, emotional and mental benefits, not only for your children, but for yourself as well.
Learning infant massage is an investment in your children’s health and well being. It is a gift that you can give not only to yourself and your children, but to your grandchildren and to your great grandchildren. Massage can be the legacy and the wisdom that you pass on from generation to generation that helps to improve health and solidify the bonds within your family.
Feel free to contact me to learn more about infant massage classes and how they can benefit you!
By: Anita Bocian