Loving Touch: The Benefits of Infant Massage
Infant massage can relieve pain, offer comfort, and provide a lasting bond between parents and babies.
When two-month-old Jake attended his first infant massage class, he was screaming. According to his young mother, Jake screamed most of the time, and she had lost all confidence in her ability to soothe him. While medical doctors were looking into physical reasons for Jake's constant crying, his mom needed help immediately.
Peg Farlow and Maria Mathius guided the young mother's hands in a clockwise circle on the infant's tummy. With less than 10 inches separating mother and screaming infant, Farlow remembers the moment when the mother's fingers rested over the descending colon and her son stopped crying. "He blinked his little eyes and gazed deeply into his mother's," Farlow remembers. "The magic that occurred between infant and mother energized the whole room."
Farlow, a licensed massage therapist, certified infant massage instructor, and speech/language pathologist in Alabama, instructs parents in the basics of infant massage. "All babies need safe, nurturing touch and that is what massage offers," she explains. "Teaching caregivers how to use touch/massage offers them the opportunity to do something for their child that is comforting, and is really fun for them, too."
Last reviewedJanuary 2013by Brian P. Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.