Dkrainwater’s Weblog

Benefits and Practice of Infant Massage

Posted on: November 21, 2008

Vimala Schneider McClure introduced infant massage to the United States during the 1970’s. She learned about infant massage while she was in India and saw it was good for babies. She massaged her one baby as she has seen it done on babies in India. She noticed its benefits to her baby and decided to start the International Association of Infant Massage.

Infant massage relaxes the baby and helps its digestion, babies with colic that is from irritable colon syndrome improved with massage. It stimulates digestive juices. It strengthens the bond between the parent and the infant. It has been show through studies that it improves immune function and promotes weight gain. It increases the myelination of nerves and improves the baby’s sleep and babies are less fussy when awake. For the brain and muscles to develop the myelination and weight and good immune system are needed. Myelination is concerned with the maturation of nerve cells and involves enabling the nerve impulses to move faster. Touching, massaging, holding the babies makes the myelin grow. Researchers have been studying infant massage since the 1970’s.

They have found that it improved their digestion, benefited their neurological development, improved their weight, and decreased time in the hospital. They study premature babies, those with motor dysfunctions, and those whose mother used drugs and caused the baby to be subjected to them.

When a baby has spent time is a neonatal intensive care unit need to be caressed more and massage is especially good for them. Some of these babies are afraid of touch though because most of the time if someone touched the, pain was involved like a shot. They have been called babies that don’t like to cuddle. It is important to gently touch them like stroke their back or scalp daily. But just a little at a time so they get used to touch being associated with good feelings and not being threatened by it. It is important that Dad get in on this. Baby’s need Dad too and should be used to him holding them and massaging them.

Your baby may be tense or be in a mood to wiggle when you are ready to start massaging him. If so, introduce him to the massage with a technique to relax him and do this every time and he will associate the technique with the fun, relaxing massage. Look your baby in the eyes with a loving attitude. Hold his stiff little legs or wiggling legs gently and easily move them in a bicycling motion. Tell him calmly and sweetly to relax. Say it a couple of times. Some massage therapists say the baby’s legs are the easiest part to start. You may want to begin your massage with his legs. Otherwise, just follow the pattern below.

First, undressed the baby and make sure the room is at least 78 degrees. If it is winter or it is humid cover the part of the baby you aren’t massaging with a blanket. La y the baby on a soft spot like a bed or the couch. Rub some lotion or cream between your hands an make sure it is warm before you begin to massage. Start at the baby’s head and work to his toes. Massage very gently.

Look at your baby and smile. Talk to him during the massage. If your baby wants to move that is Ok. Finish massaging that part of him later. Don’t use too much pressure. If you close your eyes and massage your eyeballs you’ll get the feel of how much pressure to use when massaging your baby.

Gently massage the baby’s face and scalp. Stroke his neck in the front very easily and the back of head neck. You can use small movements in circles. When massaging the back of the neck stroke in long movements to his shoulders. Be easy. You can make a circle around his are with you fingers and move down his arm. Gently press. Take special caution when you massage the elbow. Make circular movements on his stomach and chest. Hold his leg with your hand a very softly press. Press his toes gently a couple of times and massage his heels and the top of his feet with small circles gently massaging.

You can turn your baby over and massage the back of his head and neck with circular motions. Stroke his back and use circle motions. Stroke his shoulders. It is important not to massage his spinal cord. You can cup your hand over his spinal chord, as he will enjoy the warmth.  Massage the back of his legs and feet as you did the front. Barely stroke over the bend in his leg as blood vessels are closer to the surface there and you don’t want to put too much pressure on them.

Massage is a way of touching your baby more and studies have shown that babies that are touched more are healthier physically and it is good for their emotions. Touching your baby stimulates growth hormones and makes his enzymes increase. These enzymes have an effect on the cells of the vital organs. The organs are stimulated to respond better to the growth hormones. Injections of the growth hormones with out a nurse touching the babies that were in the hospital didn’t make them grow. Only holding them and rubbing their backs or massaging the, or squeezing their hands worked.

Don Rainwater has written many articles on alternative medicine, vitamins, supplements, and natural healing. To visit his site and to find vitamins, supplements, and health books that will help you find self cure through non-conventional medicine please visit http://www.vitaminvoltage.com

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