Fact: Infant massage is considered a routine part of childcare in countries such as Nigeria, India, Bali and Fiji
Founded By: Vimala Schneider McClure in 1978 (founder of the International Association of Infant Massage)
Therapy Type: Bodywork
WHAT EXACTLY IS INFANT MASSAGE?
Infant massage has been practiced by parents throughout many cultures and has since been revived and altered by the Western world as many studies have established the important role that massage plays in supporting and encouraging healthy growth and development of children.
Massage has many facets, whilst it can alleviate a number of childhood complaints like constipation the physical benefits range from a boosted immune system, heightened blood flow and stimulation of nerves. In addition massage supports the creation of the bonding process between parent and child, facilitating an understanding within the parents that allows them to act in accordance with their baby’s body language. This early formulation of communication through touch in the early years of life can be vital in building a strong relationship which can flourish through adolescence for a child. Furthermore the effects could be more widespread to involve the community and wider society, as children who are nurtured and who develop strong bonds can have a constructive effect on society through their positive work attitude.
Infant massage can begin at any age. Parents who are expecting can learn these massage techniques and put them into practice from birth. Regardless of age, the benefits are immediate and as discussed long lasting.
Massage benefits for infants, babies and children may include the following:
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM INFANT MASSAGE SESSIONS
Infant massage is different from adult massage in the sense that it isn’t manipulative. The strokes employed are formulated from Swedish, Indian and reflexology techniques and they involve slow, long and rhythmic movements applying an invigorating but calm massage.
The strokes are monitored and taught by the therapist, this empowers the parent to be confident in applying the techniques at home. There are many dynamics in which to learn infant massage techniques, it can be in the home environment, one-to-one with the therapist or baby massage courses are also popular, due to the opportunity to build friendships within this social environment.
The course encompasses every aspect of massaging your child covering; safety, which oils are suitable, correct positioning, communication which involves eye contact and body language, whilst understanding signals from the child and gaining permission from the child. Furthermore, the knowledge of how to, establish an environment suitable for massage to be carried out.
Throughout the course the therapist demonstrates the techniques on a doll, you will be the one massaging your baby. However if you have twins, a friend is welcome or if you permit the therapist can massage the other baby for you. Throughout the course the therapist as previously discussed will monitor your techniques and provide you with further information and techniques covered at the end of the session, this supports the parent/s when carrying out the techniques at home.
Infant massage is a therapy facilitates positive outcomes for the child and the parent, from birth onwards. It is also extremely safe, enjoyable and sociable experience when carried out by a qualified therapist within any of these environments. It is wise to carry out some research and select a therapist/instructor who is either a member of, or accredited by, an association or professional body such as the New Zealand Academy of Infant Massage (NZAIM). Infant Massage instructors are obligated to a code of ethics and procedure that determines the therapy is carried out in a suitable and safe environment. These regulations also guarantee a specialist who has undergone certifiable training and receives professional upskilling.
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