Saturday, September 16, 2006Infant Massage Communication: Part 1
When I lived in California, I had the opportunity to go through a training series to become an Instructor of Infant Massage. I am certified, but have yet to do any classes for money for two reasons: 1- I've been too busy with my own life. And 2- I have mixed feelings on charging money for this information I give to parents. The information families receive when they go through the series of classes is priceless... such a gift. I'd recommend it to anyone if you can afford it. Anyway, in this post and the next I want to only highlight some of the benefits of Infant Massage and direct parents to a couple resources where they can look at it further on their own. It is far too complex to teach via the blog format. Even reading it in a book isn't ideal since there are so many subtleties that are best learned in person. However, there is something to be benefitted from getting a basic into, and you don't need to know the specific strokes and techniques right away since the ultimate goal is simply touch communication: a lot of it will come naturally to you. Other cultures have been doing infant massage for generations (especially in India) and we could stand to learn a lot from them!
So, the next post will discuss ways to enhance the quality of the massage communication while this one will simply address the benefits of it:
Benefits for Parents
-IM offers the ideal expression of our first language - touch. Massaging your baby develops bridges of communication that last a lifetime.
-It's relaxing for parents
-It does a lot to increase your confidence as a parent since you become so in touch with your babies cues and will know how to respond to them.
-IM is an opportunity to connect and share quality time with your baby that is undisturbed by other distractions.
-It teaches parents how to respond to baby in nurturing ways.
Benefits for all Babies
-Promotes bonding and attachment
-Improves circulation, digestion and mental organization
-Helps baby learn to relax
-Reduces symptoms of colic, gas and GI tract distress
Benefits for Babies with Special Needs
-Helps relax tight muscles
-Helps stimulate muscle tone for low-tone babies
-Helps babies learn to accept positive touch (especially for those who've been hospitalized)
-Increases weight gain
-Improves eye contact and socialization
-Decreased fisting and shoulder reaction
-General reduction of stress
So there's that, are you convinced it's a good thing yet? Babies who receive consistent massage interaction are generally "lower maintenance" than those who don't. The power of touch is incredible. So stay tuned for some tips to develop a good massage communication routine with your child!
-Ellie: Oak Harbor, WA
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