Infant Massage Lessons - Maternity Massage Therapy with Elizabeth Belfry, RMT, CIMT

By: Maternity Massage Therapy  09-12-2011
Keywords: Massage Therapy, Massage

Infant Massage Lessons

Massage therapy has been accepted as part of health and wellness care for adults for a long time—it is only recently, in western civilization, that it has become recognized as being beneficial for infants (and children) as well. Throughout many parts of India, Africa, and the South Pacific, however, massage has been part of regular parenting practices for centuries.

Other than the many physical benefits for both the baby and parent, one of the main purposes of infant massage is building a better bond and relationship between infant and caregiver. For that reason, I do not actually massage the babies—instead, I teach the parents to. 

As a caregiver, infant massage allows you to:

•    Have focused time together with baby

•    Establish or deepen your bond with baby

•    Relax & unwind with baby, relieving stress & tension

•    Have an opportunity for skin-to-skin contact & eye-to-eye contact

•    Be more competent in reading baby’s verbal & non-verbal cues

•    Become more “in sync” with baby

•    Feel more confident & competent in caring for baby

•    Be more comfortable handling your baby

•    Provide an opportunity for baby’s siblings to bond with newborn

For a baby, infant massage can:

•    Promote secure attachment, self-esteem, & self-confidence

•    Promote physical self-awareness

•    Aid in the bonding process with the caregiver, building trust & intimacy

•    Provide special time for communicating verbal and non-verbal cues

•    Build awareness of loving touch & caring affection

•    Relieve the pain of teething, colic & other illnesses

•    Provide babies that are premature or have special needs with many psychological & physiological benefits

•    Help to maintain a baby’s health by improving the functioning of all systems of the body (see potential benefits listed below)

Muscular/Skeletal Systems

Improved posture/balance

Reduction of muscle tension that could lead to more serious problems

Increased nutrient & blood flow to bones & muscles

Removal of lactic acid & carbonic acid which build up after strenuous activity

Increased/decreased muscle tone depending on what is needed

Increased/reduced joint mobility & range of motion depending on what is needed

Digestive System

Relief of constipation/gas

Reduction in water retention

Better movement of food through the intestines

Better uptake of nutrients from the food (promotes healthy weight gain)

Circulatory System

Stimulation of blood & lymph flow

Strengthened/improved efficiency of immune system

Release of toxins held in the body

Respiratory System

Improved breathing patterns

Reduction of respiratory problems

Relief of tension in the chest allowing the lungs to expand more fully

Nervous System

Relaxed nervous system: calmed baby

More restful sleeps, for longer periods

Relief from feelings of frustration & hyperactivity

Sensory stimulation speeds myelination of nerve fibers (faster transmission along neural pathways)

Improved coordination skills

Hormonal System

Raised endorphin levels promoting healing

Reduced stress hormone (Cortisol)

Increased weight gain due to an increase in food absorption hormones (Insulin & Glucagon)

Oxytocin (our feel good hormone) is released creating a feeling of wellbeing

Precautions

If your child is experiencing any of the below conditions, please consult with your child’s physician and have a release form signed PRIOR to participating in infant massage.

•    High fever/temperature

•    Acute infection/illness/disease

•    Contagious skin disorder

•    Open sores or lesions

•    Any life threatening medical condition

•    Swollen lymph nodes

•    Blood clots or other serious blood condition

•    Intense diarrhea or other sickness

If your child has had a recent immunization/vaccination wait 48—72 hours before participating in infant massage lessons. If your child has an unhealed umbilical cord stomach massage is NOT performed until it has healed.

Lessons
   

Infant massage is taught as a series of lessons, so as not to over stimulate the babies with too much massage at once. Lessons can be done through private instruction or in a group setting.  Babies should be between 3 weeks old and crawling—it is still very possible to massage older babies/toddlers/children, however, it is easiest for you to learn the massage strokes before your child can crawl away. For the lessons, expect to spend approximately 15—20 minutes of hands-on time with baby, with the remainder of the time allotted to discussion of basic infant massage protocols & relevant baby/parent/massage topics, as well as a clarification/question period.

Private Instruction

•    One-on-one lessons allows us to focus on you and your baby’s individual needs

•    Best option for babies/parents that are over stimulated/overwhelmed in group settings

•    Partners/baby’s sibling(s) can participate at NO EXTRA CHARGE

•    Lessons are at your home, allowing both you and baby to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible

•    YOU NEED TO PROVIDE: a warm preferably carpeted area with enough room on the floor for adults and baby to be in a circle—space should be comfortable and free of stimuli as it can be distracting for the baby (few sounds/smells, soft lighting, warm room temperature as baby will be undressed, etc)

•    ALSO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE: a receiving blanket for baby to lie on during the massage, a pillow or yoga mat for yourself to sit on as well as anything else you might want (water bottle, etc)—if the baby’s sibling(s) will be there please ensure they have toys/books to entertain themselves

•    Series of three or four 45—60 minute lessons, preferably weekly (amount of lessons needed varies individually)

•    You will receive a complimentary bottle of massage oil and an instruction package full of many helpful handouts

•    Anytime during or after the series of lessons, you will be welcome to contact me for any clarification needed

Group Lessons

•    Allows caregivers to learn from each other and see how different babies react to the same massage strokes

•    Provides a fun opportunity to get together with other moms/dads/caregivers/babies

•    Partners/ baby’s sibling(s) can participate at NO EXTRA CHARGE

•    Lessons are at the home of one of the participating caregivers—we can rotate homes if desired

•    HOST(ESS) NEEDS TO PROVIDE

:

a warm preferably carpeted area with enough room on the floor for babies and their entourage (caregivers, siblings) to be in a circle—space should be comfortable and free of stimuli as it can be distracting for the babies (few sounds/smells, soft lighting, warm room temperature as babies will be undressed, etc)

•   

EACH CAREGIVER NEEDS TO BRING:

a receiving blanket for baby to lie on during the massage along with all its usual outing necessities, a pillow or yoga mat for themselves to sit on as well as anything else they might want (water bottle, etc)—if the baby’s sibling(s) will be there please ensure they have toys/books to entertain themselves

•    Series of four 45—60 minute lessons, preferably weekly

•    Each family will receive a complimentary bottle of massage oil and an instruction package full of many helpful handouts

•    Anytime during or after the series of lessons, participants will be welcome to contact me for any clarification needed

Group Classes

Currently I am not teaching any group classes. However, if you are interested in partaking in a group class at community facility rather than in-home lessons please let me know as I would be happy to organize and teach a class if there is enough interest for it.

Keywords: Massage, Massage Therapy

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