Benefits of Infant Massage

Mother gently massaging her childs feet

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From a physiological perspective during cell division in the womb, the soon-to-be fetus divides into 3 layers: the endoderm, mesoderm, and ectoderm. The ectoderm develops into the skin and brain, which forms a clear neural connection between the skin and the brain. One way to look at it is that “the brain is the innermost portion of the skin, and the skin is the outermost portion of the brain”. This is significant because it demonstrates how touch impacts brain development. The more tactile stimulation the baby receives throughout its first year of life permanently impacts brain development.

The purpose of infant massage therapy is to not only treat postural conditions that the child developed in the womb, but to teach the child’s family how to provide the tactile stimulation that a developing baby’s brain needs in order to grow efficiently. For this reason, most infant massage sessions are geared towards TRAINING THE FAMILY, rather than the therapist treating the infant herself.

To add to this, most newborn families cannot afford regular massage sessions for their infants, so it’s important to give them the skills to provide for the baby at home. 

There are many benefits to infant massage therapy. Our certified infant massage therapist can walk you through these techniques so you can get the best results possible! Infant Massage has been studied with many positive outcomes. 

Massaging your infant is a fantastic and affectionate way to build a lifelong connection. The one-on-one interaction along with the massage only strengthen the bond between infant and caregiver.

Massaging infants provides an important source of tactile stimulation which promotes development and overall well-being. Early psychological and sensory input is crucial to an infant’s development. This also encourages bonding through eye contact, smiling, soothing sounds, caressing and gentle touch. This in turn also relaxes the infant as they feel safe, happy, and comfortable with you. This bonding behavior has been proven in studies to increase a parent’s feeling of attachment, as well as their desire to nurture and care for their infant.

Infant massage improves development in the following ways:

Communication skills have been shown in studies to improve due to developing speech, direct eye gaze, listening and turn taking.

Motor skills improve as muscle tone and tension resolve. Increased body awareness has been shown to improve as well. 

Social skills are honed as infant and caregiver to engage one another. 

Due to the relaxation effect of the massage this can lead to less colic episodes. Regulating their behavior also has been shown to improve their sleep.

Infant massage also stimulates the circulatory and digestive systems which has been shown to help babies with issues such as gas, stomach cramps, colic, and constipation.

Infant massage can also increase oxygen and blood flow to cells leading to improved breathing patterns and respiration. 

With improved circulation to musculature this can reduce muscle tension which will relax the infant as well. It can ease the discomfort of growing pains as well. 

Bond with your little one when you perform an infant massage. Ready to book your first infant massage session? Contact Fit4Life Physiotherapy today.

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