Massage is one of the best therapies for curing many body ailments be it for adults or infants. Infant massage is nothing new; this practice has been since centuries. The art of massage was first introduced in the United States by Vimala Schneider McClure in the year 1970. After she observed how well infants in India were doing after a massage. She later tried the massage strokes on her own infant. The results were very positive.
The International Association of Infant Massage was founded by Ms. McClure. She also wrote a book called ‘’Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents’’. She later included various types of massage for infants like yoga, Swedish strokes, and reflexology along with the Indian massage strokes.
There are various techniques used in infant massage. Other than oil, there are other ingredients also used for the massage. Massaging a baby has many benefits and a few of them are mentioned below.
A mother’s touch always relaxes a child. It reduces the tension, irritability and fussiness. Other than relaxing the body, a massage also helps in digestion and relieves colic and gas. A massage also helps in reducing the stress and tension for a baby and the parent.
When a mother massages the infant, it conveys love and care. This is very important for the mental and physical growth of the infant.
A massage is one of the best therapies for the development and growth of an infant. It strengthens the immune system and helps in gaining weight. It also helps to increase the myelination of nerves. This is very important for strengthening the muscles and the brain.
Helps Communication- Though an infant may not be able to talk at this point of time, a massage helps parents to get closer to the baby and understand the nonverbal cues. A close touch of the parent helps in instilling security and love.
Sound Sleep- Since a massage reduces stress and relaxes the body of the infant; the infant gets a sound sleep and is also sleep for a long time.
Dough and Oil Massage- In India, after the baby is born a cleansing massage is done. This massage includes a wheat dough ball that is soft; in this a pinch of turmeric and some almond oil is added. Just before the massage, the dough is dipped in almond oil and then rubbed on the infant. This process is done for the initial six days before bath.
In this types of massage, medicated oils are used to massage the infant. The ayurvedic massage helps in digestion and detoxifies the infant’s body.
After the sixth day, the actual massage starts and it continues for 3 weeks. This is done with small dough balls that are dipped in oil.
When the infant is about a month old, the hands are massaged. Then after 3 months once the infant’s body is strong enough the rest of the massage is done daily for 3 months. The area where the massage is concentrated is the waist, neck, spine, hands, feet and back. This massage continues for 18 months to strengthen the infant’s body.