Is Massage Safe For Babies? Mukilteo Massage May 26, 2011 Are you wondering if massage is safe for your baby? The simple answer is: ABSOLUTELY!!! Infant massage has been practiced worldwide throughout the ages. Ideally, 1 or both parents learn the art of massage to practice the techniques on their child; however, proper instruction is essential. As a perfect learning tool, start by taking your infant to Mukilteo Massage; you can supplement weekly professional massage with a daily session at home. It has been proven time and again that more contact with your baby is extremely beneficial. Babies who are rocked, breastfed and frequently carried in addition to massage are: Happier Better able to handle stress More Secure More trusting Studies conducted pertaining to infant massage overwhelmingly advocate the benefits. In some European countries, a mother that does not massage her baby every morning is strongly admonished! Among the numerous documented beneficial responses to infant massage: Stimulation of Growth-Promoting Hormones The positive effects of a mother’s touch were recognized long ago with regard to dogs and other mammals. Not surprising that the same holds true for humans. When a baby is deprived of touch, production of the hormones required for growth are decreased. Even with injection of growth hormone factor, the babies do not grow – the stimulation of skin-to-skin contact is essential for human growth. This cellular response to touch is astounding! Promotion of Brain Growth It is theorized that the intimate touching of massage stimulates production of myelin. Myelin is the protective sheath that surrounds the nerves – which allows nerve impulses to travel more quickly. Ultimately, neurological development overall is enhanced through infant massage. Aids Digestion Gastrointestinal health is improved by the increased secretion of digestive hormones. It is thought that babies with colic caused by irritable colon syndrome are relieved with daily massage. This also factors into the advanced growth and neurological development – more calories efficiently consumed helps with overall health and happiness. Behavioral Indications Because a caregiver’s touch settles a baby, massage can help your infant sleep better at night. Additionally, babies that receive regular ‘additional’ touching respond more positively to a caregiver’s touch, are remarkably less fussy and are better organized. It would seem that the ability to sleep better likely accounts for the positive behavioral issues. Improved Sense of Self The act of massage allows your baby to learn his/her body; understanding very early what parts of the body are sensitive and how those parts feel when in need of either relaxation or stimulation promotes a child’s sense of self. It has been shown that this intimate knowledge of one’s body improves self-esteem and promotes a sense of personal value. Improved Communication Regular massage of your baby also benefits you as a parent! With such an intimate connection, both you and your baby learn the subtle nuances of body language. This is especially useful for working moms – a nightly massage re-connects you to your baby on the most intimate level. Assistance with Special Needs Babies Any baby that requires neonatal intensive care benefits tremendously from massage. As most of the touching that occurred while in hospital care was painful, it is essential to establish gentle touch that a baby enjoys. In cases where the mother is separated from her baby due to medical complications, massage is a perfect way to establish that ‘overdue’ connection. For ‘uncuddly babies’ – those with special needs and very sensitive – massage can teach them to enjoy being touched. In addition to the benefits for your baby – imagine how relaxing it will be for you to spend special time with your baby. Always remember: When baby is happy – everyone is happy!