Massage itself already has many beneficial physiological effects on the body. The blood circulatory system and lymphatic system are both stimulated, thus carrying more vital nutrients around the body and helping to eliminate waste from it. Massage also stimulates the immune, nervous system, digestive and respiratory systems, helps to increase muscle tone and suppleness whilst aiding body awareness and co-ordination. Massage, particularly aromatherapy, can also have a beneficial effect on some skin conditions.
Baby massage has many extra benefits for both the child receiving and the person i.e. parent, giving the massage. The sense of touch is one of our primary senses and is especially important to babies as a form of communication. A parent’s touch is nurturing to a baby and this has been proved to have an influence on a child’s disposition, those who are often held are more relaxed and happy, whilst those who are not tend to suffer more from anxiety.
For these reasons the most ideal person to give a baby a massage is its parent rather than a therapist, as bonding can be strengthened and a parent’s true nurturing skills can come through uninhibited by worries if they have been correctly taught a massage sequence by a trained professional.
Babies can be massaged from birth but as a safe guard it is best to advice parents from 6-8 weeks after they have had the G.P. check-up. Premature babies or those with special health problems should always gain medical consent.
BENEFITS FOR BABY
•Bonding is enhanced
•Improved rest and sleep
•Improved body awareness and co-ordination
•Improved muscle tone and joint mobility
•Stimulation of body systems
•Can help reduce;
Colic and wind,
Dry skin, eczema and cradle cap,
Coughs and colds.
BENEFITS FOR PARENTS
•Fun and enjoyable
•Gives confidence when handling baby
•Gives permission to touch