Infant massage, as with all massage, is a relaxing process, but unlike adult massage which is designed to manipulate, infant massage is a form of communication that also offers the following benefits:
- Gentle touch releases oxytocin, the nurturing hormone
- Infant massage has been known to help reduce discomfort from gas, colic and constipation
- It aids in digestion and enhances development of the nervous system
- Increases alertness and heightens awareness
- Reduces stress hormones
- Improves immune system
- Improves sleep patterns
- There are also benefits for the parents including:
- An improved sense of well being
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces stress
You can perform infant massage on your newborn as soon as they arrive, but you must be aware of their cues. Some babies may find some touch uncomfortable and it will vary from child to child. In general you want to move your hands gently, with long, slow, rhythmic strokes. You want to speak to your child, even mention the body parts as you massage each one to enhance communication and introduce them to common words. You can use unscented, natural oil products to make the massage more comfortable and massage your baby daily.
It is also possible to go to a professional massage therapist to perform the massages, or look for classes to participate in with your baby. Ideally, however, this is one on one time with you and your infant to help promote your closeness and love.
At Brinkeetos in Kanata, you can go to an infant massage class that follows the International Association of Infant Massage guidelines. During class, they will teach you how to massage your baby and the benefits of each stroke. This way you can have a quiet and soothing experience for your precious little one at home. You can visit www.brinkeetos.com or call 613-762-6491 for more information.