For many infants, parents find that it can be hard for them to relax and be calm in stressful, anxiety-ridden situations. According to Massage Magazine, massage techniques are being used by parents and in hospitals to help infants relax and fall asleep while they're dealing with stressful situations such as gas, colic, colds, and sleeping problems. Massage therapists are now taking steps to teach parents how to properly massage their infants at home, too.
Linda Storm, founding executive director of Infant Massage USA, spoke about the technique and the lessons she offers.
“Infant massage is a wonderful added set of skills for a massage therapist,” Storm said. “Rather than massaging the babies, the therapist can teach a class of parents who massage their babies.”
Each class that Infant Massage USA offers lasts anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes. The classes are held once a week for five weeks. Parents can really benefit from learning the proper way to massage and calm their child.
“Since the parents are massaging their baby, this relieves wear and tear on the therapist’s body,” Storm said. “Parents may be encouraged to schedule a message for themselves, thus adding to the therapist's clientele.”
Judith Koch is a massage educator at the Institute of Somatic Therapy. She says that the skin-to-skin contact that a parent shares with their child is one of the most important things, especially if the child is sick or has any problem.
“A relationship has been shown between skin-to-skin touch and intelligence,” Koch said. “The more tactile stimulation a baby receives in its first months of life up through the first year can impact their brain development permanently. It helps enhance communication between infant and parent. It will make for a calmer and happier baby, which will result in a calmer and happier household, and help the parent to be more aware of their baby’s physical condition.”
Not only do the infants benefit from the massages, but the parents do as well. Karen Stoner, the owner of A Caring Touch Massage Therapy in State College, Pennsylvania, says that the technique can help parents understand their baby and connect with them.
“When parents massage their baby, hormones are released to help [the parents] relax,” Stoner said. “Through massage, they learn to understand their baby, building their confidence as well as enjoying the interaction with other parents.”
Kelsey R. is a writer and an avid world traveler. When she’s not writing or listening to 80s music, you can find her exploring different countries, taking selfies with her dog Lady, and in constant search for the perfect brownie recipe.