During the 1980’s when I was having children and many of my regular clients were also, I took an interest in Infant Massage. The power of touch is so great for all human beings, but never more than it is for infants. Touch is their whole world. It’s how they learn in those first few months of life .How you touch a child can set up their nervous system for contentment, or for fear.
Massage is simply a form of touch which can help train their little bodies, while at the same time providing that much-needed touch. During an infant massage I would start by gently holding the infants foot and using gentle strokes, move my hand down his leg, away from the heart and towards the ankle. I would repeat that on the other leg and then do each arm. Holding the hand gently and stroking fomr the shoulder back to the hands. I would also gently stretch the legs back up towards the torso. Infants can tend to keep their knees bent and stretching them very getnly can help to release any tension built up in their little muscles. There is a great explanation of Infant Massage on the What To Expect Website.
When I first explored infant massage, it was a relatively new thing. These days, it’s no longer new, it is practiced much more frequently, and there are actually studies being done on the power of massage. In fact several of those studies showed that infant massage helped not only the infants, but also new mothers and fathers. When paired with education in proper child care techniques, songs, and games that new parents can play with their infants, infant massage provided a special bond for the family.
We know that infants come into this world with their own personalities and nervous systems. Some of those personalities are more prone to need more stimulation and others may need less. But almost all of them need a loving touch I watched so many infants visibly relax while i massaged them. New mothers and fathers, especially first time parents, are often nervous and anxious. They transit that nervous energy to their infants. When I would arrive and take those sweet babies, lay them out on the massage table and gently stretch their limbs I could hear them breathe a sigh of relief, and I would see out of the corner of my eye, the slow smiles of the Mom’s and Dads. Their shoulders would relax, their whole posture would change, and when I handed that child back to them, both the child and the parent were in a much calmer and happy state.
I like that the things I have learned are now becoming more mainstream and accepted. That means more children will get the benefit of healing massage and gently touch, and more parents will get to spend time with a calm and relaxed child. I found that teaching those parent who were willing to learn, how to massage their babies was the most rewarding of all.
Massage and infants,