Infant massage has been around since the dawn of time. I'm sure that every mother learns very quickly the effect of touch of a baby. Vimala Schneider McClure brought this ancient art to the United States in the 1970's, after she observed the positive effect it had on infants in India. She practiced the Indian massage strokes on her own baby and observed its benefits first hand. Ms. McClure is the founder of the International Association of Infant Massage, and the author of "Infant Massage, a Handbook for Loving Parents". Swedish strokes, reflexology, and yoga along with the Indian massage strokes, make up the curriculum for teaching parents the art of infant massage.
The application of infant massage as a catalyst for normalizing a baby's physical and emotional life has a wide range of benefits, including helping to promote relaxation; improving sensory integration; helping aid deeper and longer sleep; encouraging mid-line orientation; assisting in bonding and attachment; assisting in vocalization; stimulating the circulatory and GI systems; assisting in pain relief; and enhancing neurological development.
The benefits of infant massage are a two-way street: Infant massage contributes to infant-parent attachment. The experience resonates with the baby, while bringing out nurturing qualities in parents. This is why infant massage is advocated as a parenting interaction, rather than as therapy performed by a massage therapist. Many leaders in the infant mental health field share this view: Infant massage is for those who will be raising the baby over the long haul. Preterm Infants that received tactile/kinesthetic stimulation over a 10-day period. The infants averaged 21% greater weight gain per day and spent more time awake and active during sleep/wake behavior observations. Preterm infants who were massaged before sleep fell asleep more quickly and slept more soundly with better sleep patterns, then ones that had not received massage....
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