By Hannah Schenker
This short but sweet video of a baby getting a massage is doing the rounds on Facebook, but we wondered if there is more to it than just cuteness and a smile on a baby’s face. Turns out baby massage is a really valuable thing to do, more on that below. But first, cuteness.
Infant massage is something you can learn to do yourself which will greatly help to sooth your baby. You know yourself how lovely and relaxing a massage is, and you also know how quickly your baby can be calmed simply by being close to you, receiving the magic of your physical touch. Why not put the two together? More than just a physical soother, massage also helps to stimulate the central nervous system, saysÂ Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
“That sets off a chain reaction: It makes her brain produce more serotonin, a feel-good chemical, and less cortisol, a hormone that’s secreted in response to stress. As a result, your baby’s heart rate and breathing slow down, and she becomes more relaxed. ”
Gentle massage from your healing touch can help your little oneÂ physically by stimulating the circulatory, digestive, hormonal and immune systems, as well as muscular development and growth. Massage will also promote bonding through physical affection, develop secure attachment, trust and confidence and grow feelings of love, trust, respect and being valued. (Source: International Association of Infant Massage).
The benefits then reach into the physical, potentially helping ease symptoms of colic and wind, constipation and elimination, teething pain, growing aches and pains and muscle cramps.
There are plenty of instructional sites and videos out there as well as classes you can take, so if you are planning to give it a try, please do some research first to make sure you begin safely.