© 2016 by Limitless Pediatrtic Solutions

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INFANT MASSAGE 

The art of communication through touch

0-18 months

  • Learn how your baby communicates through cues and your touch.
     
  • Foster parenting confidence while bonding with your baby.
     
  • Promote pre-language skill development.
     
  • Improve sleep patterns.
     
  • Improve digestive function i.e. decrease colic.
     
  • Improve brain and muscle responses.
     
  • Decrease your stress hormones.
     
  • Spend quality time with your baby.
We offer 4 week series group classes or individual sessions.
Come to our space in Sheridan Park in Bluffton or choose a "host home"
and we will come to you!
WHY INFANT MASSAGE?
Infant massage is a parent tradition within many ancient cultures that has been re-discovered and adapted for parents and babies around the world. Research conducted through the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine confirms the importance of a secure environment and nurturing touch in the healthy growth, development and maturation of children. According to Vimala McClure, author of Infant Massage, A Handbook for Loving Parents, “Infant massage is an ancient art that connects you deeply with the person who is your baby, and helps you to understand your baby’s particular nonverbal language and respond with love and respectful listening. It empowers you as a parent, for it gives you the means by which you become an expert on your own child.”
Numerous other studies have also shown the many developmental benefits of positive contact as part of baby’s early life. Infant massage is one of the most natural and pleasant methods of providing this early nurturing contact.

BENEFITS OF INFANT MASSAGE IN 4 DISTINCT WAYS:
STIMULATING

Stimulates all the systems of the body including the: `

  • Nervous system

  • Circulatory system

  • Respiratory system

  • Elimination system

  • Immune system
     

Stimulates the release of oxytocin, known as the cuddle hormone (is released in both parent and child), prolactin (promoting milk production in the mother) and other endorphins.

Reduces muscle stiffness and normalizes muscle tone.

 

RELAXING

Reduces muscle stiffness and normalizes muscle tone.

  • Helps relieve tension built up from all the stimulation in the baby's environment

  • Helps babies handle sensory stimulation and respond in a relaxed manner

  • Helps babies sleep better

  • Helps regulate sleep/wake cycle

RELIEF

  • Touch combined with vocalization helps reduce pain levels up to 80%

  • Helps tone digestive tract

  • Helps alleviate gas and promote elimination

  • Releases hormones for food absorption

  • Releases endorphins, natural pain killers, to ease emotional distress

BONDING AND ATTACHMENT

  • Infant massage draws on all the elements of bonding and attachment

  • Eye-to-eye contact, skin-to-skin, body scent, vocalization, taste, responsiveness

  • Hormones stimulated by infant massage promote bonding and attachment between parent and baby

DOCUMENTED BENEFITS OF INFANT MASSAGE

IMPROVED SLEEP PATTERNS

  • Infants experience improved sleep immediately after being massaged.
    Argal KN, Gupta A, Pushkarna R, Bhargava SK, Faridi MMA, Prabhu MK, Effects of massage & use of oil on growth, blood flow & sleep pattern in infants. India J Med Res. 2000:112, 212-217

  • Infants who were massaged before bedtime adjusted to a more favorable rest-activity cycle by the age of 8 weeks and produced more melatonin, a sleep regulator, during the night by the age of 12 weeks.
    Ferber SG, Laudon M, Kuint J, Weller A, Zisapel N. Massage therapy and sleep-wake rhythms in the neonate. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 2002:23(6):410-415

  • Infants and toddlers with sleep onset problems were given daily massages by their parents for 15 minutes prior to bedtime for one month. The massaged babies showed fewer sleep delay behaviors and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study. During the day, babies were more awake, alert and active.
    Field, T., & Hernandez-Reif, M., (2001). Sleep problems in infants decrease following massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 168, 95-104.
     

REDUCTION OF STRESS
  • Cortisol levels, a stress indicator, were significantly lower after infant massage.
    Acolet D, Modi N, Giannakoulopoulos X, et al. Changes in plasma cortisol and catecholamine concentrations in response to massage in preterm infants. Arch Dis Child. 1993;68:29-31.

  • Massaged pre-term infants showed fewer stress behaviors and less activity during a five-day study.
    Hernandez-Reif, M., Diego, M. & Field, T. (2007). Preterm infants show reduced stress behaviors and activity after 5 days of massage therapy. Infant Behavior & Development, 30,557-61.
     

ENHANCED MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

  • Premature infants experienced enhanced motor development and improved Brazelton neonatal behavioral assessment scores.
    Dieter JNI. Emory ED. Supplemental stimulation of premature infants: a treatment model. J Pediatr Psychol. 1997;22(3):281-295.

  • Massage of premature infants successfully modulated infant state.
    White-Traut RC, Pate CM, Modulating infant state in premature infants. J Pediatr Nurs. 1987;2(2):96-101.

  • Infants born of HIV+ mothers who were massaged three times daily had significantly more optimal scores on the Brazelton neonatal behavioral assessment, including habituation, motor, range of state, autonomic stability, excitability, and stress behaviors.
    Scafidi F, Field T, Massage therapy improves behavior in neonates born to HIS-positive mothers, J Pediatr Psychol. 1996;21(6):889-897.
     

IMPROVED FAMILY INTERACTION

  • Fathers who used massage techniques with their infants experienced increased self-esteem as parents. The babies greeted their fathers with more eye contact, smiling, vocalizing and reaching responses. The fathers were more expressive and showed more enjoyment and more warmth during floor-play interactions with their infants.
    Cullen, D., Field, T., Escalona, A., & Hartshorn, K. (2000). Father-infant interactions are enhanced by massage therapy. Early Child
     

HELP FOR DEPRESSED MOTHERS AND BABIES

  • Massaged babies of depressed, adolescent mothers gained more weight, had improved sociability and soothability temperament scores, and experienced greater decreased in urinary stress hormones. They cried less and had lower stress levels.
    Development and Care, 164, 41-47. Field T, Grizzle N, Scafidi F, Abrams S, Richarson S. Massage therapy for infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behav Dev 1996;19;109-114.

  • Learning the practice of infant massage by mothers may be an effective treatment for facilitating mother-infant interaction in mothers with postnatal depression. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scores improved for the mothers who learned massage, as did their video-taped mother-baby interactions.
    Onozawa K, Glover V, Adams D, Modi N, Kumar RC. Infant massage improves mother-infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression.

  • Infants of depressed mothers who experienced massage therapy (compared to infants who were rocked) spent more time in active alert and active awake states, cried less, and had lower salivary cortisol levels, suggesting lower stress. The massage-therapy infants gained more weight, showed greater improvement on emotionality, sociability, and soothability temperament dimensions, and had greater decrease in urinary stress catecholamines/hormones (norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol).
    Field, T., Grizzle, N., Scafidi. F., Abrams, S., Richardson, S., Kuhn, C., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Massage therapy for infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 19, 107-112.
     

INCREASED WEIGHT GAIN FOR PREMATURE INFANTS

  • Premature infants that were massaged regularly had higher daily weight gain, increased motor activity, and better Brazelton neonatal behavioral assessment scores. They had a better conversion of calories to weight gain.
    Field TM, Schanberg SM, Scafidi F, et al. Tactile/kinesthetic stimulation effects on preterm neonates. Pediatrics. 1986:77 (5):654-658.
    Phillips RB, Moses HA. Skin hunger effects on preterm neonates. Infant Toddler Intervention. 1996;(1);39-46.
     

HELP FOR COCAINE-EXPOSED BABIES

  • Massage cocaine-exposed infants averaged a 28% greater weight gain over a 10 day period, had fewer stress behaviors, improved orientation behaviors and better motor scores.
    Wheeden A, Scafidi FA, Field, T., Ironson G, Valdeon C, Bandstra E. Massage effects on cocaine-exposed preterm neonates. Dev. Behav Pediatr. 1993:14(5);318-322.

  • Cocaine exposed newborns had fewer postnatal complications and showed increased weight gain, and better performance on the Brazelton Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale (particularly on the motor scale), and less stress behaviors following 10 days of massage.
    Scafidi F, Field T, Wheeden A, Schanberg S, Kuhn C, Symanski R, Zimmerman E, Bandstra ES. Cocaine exposed preterm neonates show behavioral and hormonal differences. Pediatrics 1996:97:851-855.
     

SAFE FOR MEDICALLY FRAGILE INFANTS

  • A parent-trained touch massage protocol for medically fragile infants in a level III neonatal intensive care unit was both feasible and sage. Babies remained physiologically stable and had no change in agitation/pain scores.
    Livingston K, Beider S, Kant AG, et al. Touch and Massage for Medically Fragile Infants. 2007.

  • A greater increase in temperature was noted for pre-term infants receiving massage therapy even though incubator portholes remained open during the massage.
    Diego, M.A, Field T. & Hernandezz-Reif, M (2008). Temperature increases in preterm infants during massage therapy. Infant Behavior & Development, 31, 149 -52.

Why Attend a Class?

Our courses are taught over a number of weeks, normally 4 – 6 weeks, to give both the parent and baby time to learn and become comfortable with the massage. Each week parents learn strokes for a new part of the body while reviewing strokes from previous classes. So new strokes are learned and previous information is reinforced. We teach a little at a time to ensure that you are confident with every aspect.
The strokes and styles of baby massage are easier to grasp when demonstrated by our experienced instructors. Pressure, rate, rhythm, the length of the massage, respect, bonding, why baby cries, baby’s body language, positioning of the baby, relaxation and parent empowerment are some of the skills and topics that will be discussed.
WHAT’S A CLASS LIKE?
  • Our classes are held in small groups to ensure personalized attention.
  • Classes are baby led. In our classes, it’s okay for babies to cry!
  • Supportive group sessions where parents can share experiences and learn from each other while having fun.
  • Recommended age for group classes is from birth to pre-crawling.

Parents' Frequently Asked Questions

WHEN IS A GOOD TIME TO MASSAGE MY BABY?
  • We recommend that your baby be in the “quiet alert state” to massage him/her. Your baby will look calm, gazing at you or be happy to lay still. As you learn your baby’s cues you will know when it is the right time.

WHY SHOULD I MASSAGE MY BABY?
  • There are many benefits for your baby and you. Please look at our benefits page to learn more

 

  • You can use any organic cold pressed edible fruit or vegetable oil ie: grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, or olive. See our webpage on massage oils for details.

 
 
WHY SHOULD I ASK MY BABY IF HE WANTS A MASSAGE BEFORE STARTING A MASSAGE?
 
  • Babies understand much more than we realize. When babies are quiet and alert, we ask them if they would like a massage. This helps them know that they can say yes or no to touch. We respect their body ownership and watch their cues to know if they want massage or not.
     

 
WHY SHOULD I ATTEND AN INFANT MASSAGE CLASS?
 
  • While there are many books and videos available on infant massage, learning along with other parents from a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM) is a more hands-on, interactive and personal experience. The CEIMs teach each of the strokes one-by-one so you will feel comfortable and confident that you are doing them correctly. CEIMs also help you understand your baby’s responses and can help answer any questions you may have about touch, bonding/attachment and other topics. During an infant massage class, you will also benefit from the interaction, knowledge and experience of other parents. Find a CEIM near you!
     

 
WHY DOES A CLASS LAST 4-6 WEEKS?
 
  • We like to introduce babies to massage at their own pace. We watch their cues and introduce new strokes gradually, week-to-week. During our infant massage classes, you will be introduced to new information gradually and build on previously taught techniques. Classes are designed to build relationships between parent and baby over time to instill trust and create positive associations. Long term training sessions also encourage engagement between parents fostering opportunities for ongoing support and friendships long after the classes are over.
     

 
CAN BOTH PARENTS ATTEND INFANT MASSAGE CLASSES?
 
  • We encourage both parents to participate in infant massage classes. This gives your baby a chance to bond with each parent in his/her own way. Fathers and mothers often develop different styles and unique ways to interact with their babies, and these classes are a great opportunity for both parents to form a life-long bond with their child.
     

 
HOW OFTEN CAN I MASSAGE MY BABY?
 
  • Follow your baby’s cues. It is wonderful to have massage be part of the daily routine. You may give a massage in the morning or before an afternoon nap or after bath at night. Depending on your baby, you may do leg strokes at one time during the day, later do tummy strokes and back strokes at another time.

  • If you can do massage daily, that is wonderful for your baby. Some baby’s receive one or two massages a day.
     

 
WHEN CAN I BEGIN MASSAGING MY BABY?
 
  • Introducing touch can be started soon after birth. Start with skin-to-skin care (aka Kangaroo Care). This involves placing your baby on your chest to facilitate close contact between you and your baby. You can gradually introduce back and leg strokes and then involve other parts of the baby’s body. By following your baby’s cues, looking for signs of being quiet and alert, you can begin massage during the first few weeks after birth and then gradually develop a nurturing routine that will last a lifetime.
     

 
WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN LOOKING FOR AN INFANT MASSAGE CLASS NEAR ME?
  • First, make sure the educator is a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM). This designation means that the instructor has attended a 4-day course, completed an exam as well as a practicum to gain the appropriate experience needed to teach parents. Also look for a course that is 4 to 6 weeks long. Infant massage is best taught over several weeks so that new strokes and information are introduced gradually each week.

  • Find a class today!
     

 
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO CLASS?
  • Along with your normal diaper bag items, bring an extra receiving blanket and a pillow either for you to sit on or to prop up your baby.
     

 
CAN I USE AN ESSENTIAL OIL TO MASSAGE MY BABY?
 
  • A baby’s sense of smell is very strong. For that reason, we don’t recommend using any fragrance near a young baby. As  the baby gets older, you can use fragrances to entice your baby to receive a massage.