Benefits of Infant Massage

Infant Massage has long been practiced in many countries around the world for many years, and is one of the many important traditional parenting skills.  For more than two decades International Association of Infant Massage ( IAIM) has been promoting infant massage through its affiliates all over the world.  The benefits of infant massage have been proven in many research studies, nurturing bonding and attachment, sleep and relazation, helping with crying and overall wellbeing of the baby.  In addition it has been adopted by parents caring for high-risk infnats (preterm babies or children with special needs) and found to be helpful in their development.
Four Main Categories of Benefits for the Baby
  • Interaction
  • Stimulation
  • Relief
  • Relaxation
Interaction

being promoted in various activities and feeling:

Bonding and attachment, nurturing touch and tolerance to touch, feeling of respect and love, verbal and non=verbal communication, early contact with both parents, one-to-one quality time, pre-language communication skills, use of all the senses, empathy and imitation.

Stimulation

helps with many developmental processes:


Circulatory system, digestive system, hormonal system, immune system, lymphatic system, nervous system, respiratory system, vestibular system (coordination and balance), language development, improved learning ability, muscular development and tone, growth, elimination, sensory integration, connections between neurons (stroking promotes and quickens the growth of the myelin sheath), mind/body awareness.

Relief

in a number of conditions:


Gas and colic, constipation and elimination, gastrointestinal (digestive) cramps, excess mucus, growing pains, muscular tension, teething discomfort, disorganization of the nervous system, sensitivity to touch, physical and psychological tension, softening of the skin.

Relaxation

effectively working through:

Improvement of  sleep patterns, muscle tone,  flexibility, environmental copying mechanisms, regulation of behavioral states, calmness, improved ability to clam oneself (also know as self-regulation), reduction of stress levels and stress hormones, higher levels of relaxing or anti-stress hormones (such as oxytocin and serotonin), lower levels of stress hormones (such as cortisol and norepinephrin), higher levels of dopamine, less hypersensitivity, less hyperactivity and positive ‘time-out’.

Benefits for the entire family

A more relaxed environment, involvement of siblings and extended family, aid in sibling rivalry and generation gap, more mutual respect , better sleep.

Benefits for parents

Better understanding of their baby, reading and respecting cues, promotion of bonding, promotion secure attachment, improved self-esteem and confidence, improved parenting skills, positive activity, early involvement for father, a chance to discover the baby’s uniqueness, quality time, decrease of stress hormones, higher levels of relaxing hormones (such as oxytocin and prolactin), relaxation, improved sleep, stimulates lactation, decrease in postnatal depression, meeting other parents (social aspect).

Benefits for society

Promote positive touch, respect and empathy, reduce abuse, violence, vandalism, crime, as well as national health costs due to a healthier society.

© 2019 International Association of Infant Massage (HK Chapter)