About Us

Infant Massage USA® is the US Chapter of the International Association of Infant Massage® Sweden. It was founded by DeAnna Elliott, Juliana Dellinger-Bavolek, Donna Anderson, Suzanne Reese and Linda Storm in March of 2005.

Our Mission

In partnership with the International Association of Infant Massage, our mission is to promote nurturing touch and communication through training, education, and research so that parents, caregivers and children are loved, valued, and respected throughout the United States and the world community.

Have questions about infant massage or Infant Massage USA? Contact us today.


Our Founders

Founders of the International Association of Infant Massage Instructors

Vimala McClure - Founder of Infant Massage

Vimala McClure - Founder of Infant Massage

For more than 20 years, Vimala McClure has worked with parents and babies using the ancient practice of infant massage to help create warm, intuitive bonds of love in families. Since she began her work in 1976, researchers, educators, and physicians have begun to discover the benefits of infant massage in both critical care and well-baby environments.

Vimala McClure is the founder of the International Association of Infant Massage, and author of Infant Massage: A Handbook for Loving Parents. The first edition of this book was published in 1978, and the 3rd Edition in late 2000.


Audrey Downes - Co-Founder of Infant Massage USA

Audrey Downes - Co-Founder of Infant Massage USA

Audrey's background includes Nursing. While she was studying for her BA in Community Services she had occasion to travel to Cheyenne, Wyoming (her home state) with a stop over in Denver where her husband David happened upon an article about infant massage which he pulled out for her since she was doing an internship at the Stress and Health Center in Chico. The article was titled "Massage may relieve infant stress." She subsequently called Vimala and asked where her next Training was-- Audrey would follow her anywhere as she was looking for a program that she might bring to her community. As it happened, Vimala was looking for a way to get infant massage on the West coast, so she asked if Audrey would like to sponsor a Training in Chico.

That was the beginning of something big for Audrey.


DeAnna Elliott - International Trainer

DeAnna Elliott - International Trainer

In 1981 DeAnna attended one of Vimala's first infant massage certification courses. She and Audrey Downes were the first Trainers Vimala trained in 1982. She was a founder of the International Association of infant Massage Instructors in 1986 which has grown into the International Association of Infant Massage headquartered in Sweden.

DeAnna has trained thousands of instructors in the last 28 years. From 1982-1985 she produced of the award winning film 'Heart to Heart' featuring Ashley Montagu, on the subject of Infant Massage.

From 1999-2005 she produced a documentary 'Cellular Echoes, Environmental Influences in the Journey from the Womb to the World.' It explains cell memory and how it begins at conception.


Helen Moses - International Trainer

Helen Moses - International Trainer

Helen has a degree in Early Childhood Education and an MA is School Counseling. She is also a licensed massage therapist.

Helen was a co-founding member of the International Association of Infant Massage Instructors with Vimala, Audrey Downes, DeAnna Elliott and Jody Wright. She sponsored founder Vimala McClure's instructor trainings in Tampa, Florida in 1983 and 1984. She became a CEIM in 1985 and an international trainer in 1987.


Jody Wright - International Trainer

Jody Wright - International Trainer

Jody Wright is a presenter/trainer for Infant Massage USA’s courses. She was trained 21 years ago by Vimala McClure, author of Infant Massage, A Handbook for Loving Parents, and was a founding board member of the International Association for Infant Massage Instructors in 1986 now known as the International Association of Infant Massage headquartered in Sweden.

As a La Leche League leader, a Certified Lactation Counselor and Infant Massage Trainer, and as the president of Motherwear , a catalog and website for breastfeeding mothers for 20 years, Jody Wright has dedicated her career to supporting positive relationships between parents and their babies. She is the mother of five and specializes in breastfeeding, massage and bonding with the adopted child.


Founders Vimala McClure and Audrey Downes
Founders Vimala McClure and Audrey Downes

Infant Massage USA Founders

Donna Anderson - MS, PT, CEIM, International Trainer

Donna Anderson - International Trainer

Donna earned her Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT. She went on to complete her graduate studies in Human Development and Community Resources at the University of Wisconsin. Committed to a family–centered care framework, Donna has worked with young children and their families in hospitals, developmental centers, private practice, public schools, and early intervention programs for over 25 years.

Dedicated to the vision of a gentler and more peaceful world for all, Donna developed a passion to promote nurturing touch and massage. She became a Certified Infant Massage Educator with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM)-US Chapter in 1996, and an International Trainer with IAIM in 2002. A mother of one daughter, Donna currently lives in Wisconsin Rapids, WI supporting families with the Wood County Birth to Three Program and facilitating “Sensational Baby” Community Infant Massage Classes. She also enjoys traveling throughout the country presenting infant massage workshops and certification trainings.


Juliana Dellinger-Bavolek

Juliana Dellinger-Bavolek - International Trainer

Juliana was co-founder and Director of the Family Nurturing Center Early Childhood Programs in Utah and North Carolina. She has co-authored the nationally validated Nurturing Parenting Programs, including the Prenatal Nurturing Program, the Nurturing Program for Teenage Parents and the Nurturing Program for Parents and Children: Birth to Three Years. Juliana is co-author of Nurturing Touch: Instruction in the Art of Infant Massage and the Nurturing Book for Babies and Children.

Juliana has been a Training Specialist for the International Association of Infant Massage since 1992. She is on the International Committee for Trainer Candidates (CTC), and has been teaching infant massage to families for over 20 years.


DeAnna Elliott

DeAnna Elliott - International Trainer

In 1981 DeAnna attended one of Vimala's first infant massage certification courses. She and Audrey Downes were the first Trainers Vimala trained in 1982. She was a founder of the International Association of infant Massage Instructors in 1986 which has grown into the International Association of Infant Massage headquartered in Sweden.

DeAnna has trained thousands of instructors in the last 28 years. From 1982-1985 she produced of the award winning film 'Heart to Heart' featuring Ashley Montagu, on the subject of Infant Massage.

From 1999-2005 she produced a documentary 'Cellular Echoes, Environmental Influences in the Journey from the Womb to the World.' It explains cell memory and how it begins at conception.


Suzanne Reese - International Trainer

Suzanne Reese - International Trainer

Suzanne P. Reese has a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from California State University, Northridge. She is a retired Holistic Health Practitioner and Yoga Teacher. Suzanne became a CEIM in 1998 and has worked with parents & families ever since. In January 2002, she became a Certified International Trainer.

From 2002-2004 she served as Vice-President of the International Board and was on the Infant Massage USA Board from 2005-2007.


Linda Storm - Trainer Liason and International Trainer

Linda Storm - Trainer Liason and International Trainer

Linda’s degree in elementary/special education gave her skills in teaching and also in writing detailed lesson plans. She put those skills to use as a new mom. She designed the items she wanted in her nursery and then wrote and published her pattern books. Linda is a natural problem solver and wanted to make life easier for parents and babies.

As her children were leaving for college, she learned about infant massage. She began teaching parents to massage their babies in 1999. She taught 3 classes a week for over 2 years until she became a trainer with the International Association of Infant Massage – Sweden. As a trainer she has conducted hundreds of workshops and trained over 1000 educators across the United States as well as in Korea in the United Kingdom. She has written numerous articles, presented workshops at National Conferences such as the Early Head Start, Birth to Three Conference, the National Training Institute for Zero to Three and Prevent Child Abuse America.



Our Board & Staff

Board

Joyce Ahrens - Board President

Joyce Ahrens - Board President

Earlier in her career, Joyce worked with the adult population in hospital, home, assisted living, and rehabilitation settings. She has acted as chairperson of a restraint reduction committee, coordinator of long term care CVA activity group, facilitator of stroke support groups, leader of a urinary incontinence programming team, and rehabilitation director for a skilled nursing facility. In one facility where she worked, Joyce created a “Hugs For Health” program because it became obvious that nurturing touch and connection with others were key elements for promotion of health and well being across the lifespan.

Joyce has worked in pediatrics for 17 years, with experience in the home health, early intervention, public school, preschool, daycare, and outpatient clinic settings. She served on the Board of Directors for McKenna Farms Therapy Services for 7 years, promoting program development and expansion of services for individuals with special needs and their families.

She is currently the owner of Foundations Developmental Resources, LLC, providing pediatric occupational therapy evaluation, treatment, and consultation on child development.

Experiences with clients and parents over the years have led to special interest in optimal infant development, family support, increasing engagement and attention to task in individuals with autism, development of frustration tolerance in individuals with ADHD and learning disabilities, and the impact of infant reflexes on a child’s learning abilities/availability to learn.

In addition to volunteering her time with Infant Massage USA, Joyce volunteers with her daughter’s high school volleyball booster organization, and is a Charter Member of Friends of Price Park, Cobb County, Georgia.


Dan Berman - Vice President

Dan Berman - Vice President

Dan Berman has dedicated his career to making an impact on the lives of children and families in Early Childhood Education. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Boston University, Dan attended Vanderbilt University’s esteemed Peabody College. There he earned his Master’s Degree in Child Studies with a focus in Early Childhood Program and Policy Development. After teaching in New York, Boston and Nashville, Dan moved to Tampa Bay to run a large, nonprofit preschool. While there, he was responsible for over 225 children, 40 staff and a seven figure budget, in addition to day to day operations and curriculum. In addition to children, Dan has a passion for helping others in the field. He has presented on a number of Early Childhood topics, both in his role for the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas and at state and national conferences. Additionally, he volunteers his time by serving as the President of the Pinellas County chapter of NAEYC and has taught an introductory college course on Early Childhood Curriculum and Instruction. Dan’s current role is Fatherhood Services Coordinator for a non-profit agency in Tampa Bay, Champions for Children. He was responsible for the development, and currently the oversight and implementation, of a pilot program that helps new dads bond with their babies. “Who’s the Man?!” provides developmentally appropriate activities and opportunities to help men, primarily in high risk area, connect with their 0-18 month old children, an age in which men are typically absent from the parenting process. The program is one that Dan takes tremendous pride in and is a personal passion after losing his own father at a young age. For his role, Dan was recognized by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as one of the top local professionals under 40. He also teaches Infant Massage classes for CFC, one of many certifications he holds including Tennessee and Florida Director’s Credentials, Father Engagement and a number of educational assessment tools. Teaching children and adults, running programs, having articles published, being featured at conferences and serving on boards have all been a part of Mr. Berman’s career. All have served a purpose in maintaining what has always been his goal: Making an impact on the lives of young children at their most vulnerable stage and setting them up on a path to happiness, safety, love and success.


Kristine Snell - Board Treasurer

Kristine Snell - Vice President

Kristine Snell is a licensed clinical social worker, supervisor designation (LISW-S) in the state of Ohio. Employed for the last 14 years at the Achievement Centers for Children in Cleveland, she is the clinical supervisor and program coordinator for the Early Childhood Mental Health program. Kristine serves as adjunct faculty at Case Western Reserve University in the MSSA program, providing clinical supervision to graduate students as well. Prior to joining Achievement Centers for Children, Kristine was employed at the Center for Family Health in Jackson , Michigan, where she provided counseling to both pediatric and obstetric clients, and home- based counseling as part of a an interdisciplinary team. While in Michigan she received grants to initiate a fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) training series for nurses and began a screening clinic for FAS at the Center. She also provided clinical supervision to interns from Ferris State and Michigan State Universities. Kristine introduced infant massage to the clinic in 1999 and incorporated group and individual infant massage training to Center clients.

Kristine also spent several years in Michigan as an adoption consultant for both domestic cooperative adoptions and international adoptions.

Kristine has extensive training experience in group leadership training with La Leche League International, becoming a master trainer for the LLLI communications program in the eastern US and Canada.

Kristine values her 14 years as a La Leche League Leader in Ohio and Michigan, as giving her the support to nurture her own children and vision to inspire others.


Michael Curtis - Chapter Representative

Michael Curtis - Chapter Representative

Michael has over thirty-three years of experience working with the non-profit sector. He was the Director of Rancho San Antonio Boys for over 25 years and Executive Director of The Heart Touch Project in_ for years. He has been an American Red Cross Instructor for 35 years and volunteers with Jewish Home for the Aging and Trinity Care Hospice for adults, children and infants.

Michael became a Certified Infant Massage Instructor in April of 2000 and a Certified International Trainer in 2009. He has been active on the Infant Massage USA board for 3 years and is currently President of the Board.


Linda Storm - Trainer Liason and International Trainer

Linda Storm - Trainer Liason and International Trainer

Linda’s degree in elementary/special education gave her skills in teaching and also in writing detailed lesson plans. She put those skills to use as a new mom. She designed the items she wanted in her nursery and then wrote and published her pattern books. Linda is a natural problem solver and wanted to make life easier for parents and babies.

As her children were leaving for college, she learned about infant massage. She began teaching parents to massage their babies in 1999. She taught 3 classes a week for over 2 years until she became a trainer with the International Association of Infant Massage – Sweden. As a trainer she has conducted hundreds of workshops and trained over 1000 educators across the United States as well as in Korea in the United Kingdom. She has written numerous articles, presented workshops at National Conferences such as the Early Head Start, Birth to Three Conference, the National Training Institute for Zero to Three and Prevent Child Abuse America.


Tania Stegan-Hanson - Educational Coordinator

Tania Stegan-Hanson - Educational Coordinator

Dr. Tania Stegen-Hanson, OTD, OTR/L, BCP, C/NDT, CEIM is an experienced board certified pediatric occupational therapist who graduated in South Africa in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy. Tania moved to the USA to gain experience working in the world's leading medical and occupational therapy field. She acquired specialized training through the University of Southern California in Ayres' Sensory Integration treatment and intervention, worked at the Ayres clinic (now called Pediatric Therapy Network), and was mentored by leaders in the field of Sensory Integration. Tania became certified in pediatric Neuro-developmental therapy and she is an Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM).

Tania was mentored by Suzanne Evans Morris, a leader in feeding and oral-motor intervention as well as co-author of Pre-Feeding Skills. Tania has been trained in the Beckman Oral Motor Protocol and has been invited to assist in Debra Beckman's training conferences. Additional certifications include: extensive training to administer the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (SIPT) as well as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS). Tania obtained her doctorate in occupational therapy through Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals. She is an American citizen as of September, 2015.

In 2004, Tania co-authored Just Take A Bite, Easy, Effective Answers to Food Aversions and Eating Challenges! This resource details a step-by-step plan to address eating challenges and food aversions. This book has sold over 35,000 copies and has been translated into Dutch and German. Just Take A Bite helps families and educators understand the physiological, developmental, sensory, and motor aspects that may compromise a child's ability to accept foods. The philosophy embraced: respecting the child's communication and responses to eating and mealtimes.

In addition to running her private pediatric practice in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tania presents at local and international conferences; provides 2-day workshops to pre-schools and clinics on feeding intervention; guest lectures at Touro University's Occupational Therapy Master's program, and volunteers her time as Education Consultant on the Board of Directors of Infant Massage USA.


Jennifer Shaefer - Board Secretary

Biography When children experience medical or emotional trauma early in life, it is important to create a safe and nurturing environment in which they can explore and process these events. My great passion, from early on in my career, has been to support these families in doing this through hands-on teaching and empathy. I help my clients through these intimidating experiences as well as children and families who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder, and continue to work with them addressing how these events can impact the family system and long term development. My educational background includes a BS in child development from Texas Woman’s University and an MA in Adlerian Psychotherapy and Counseling from Adler Graduate School in Richfield, Minnesota. I have been trained and am certified as a child life specialist as well as an educator of infant massage. With the use of medical play and preparation, individual group therapy and in-home family psychotherapy, I work to combine my background of child life and psychotherapy practice to empower and restore normalcy to the lives of my clients. In addition to being an advocate for families and children, I live in New Hope with my husband, Mike and dachshund, Cooper.


Elizabeth Cross - Board Member

Elizabeth is a Pediatric Physical Therapist currently working at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, (CHOP). She is currently a Supervisor of 8 PT’s and 6 Therapy Aides. Responsibilities include coordination of staff, delegation of patients, managing conflict, and mentoring staff in addition to participating in program development in the outpatient department. She is an approachable leader with a passion for sharing and mentoring young professionals and parents. She has always held her standards high with respect for emphasis on parent education and guiding new staff in providing the highest quality of care in training parents and children to optimize their potential. Elizabeth holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy as well as a Masters in Social Work. She is also a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, a new field emerging in pediatric care. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Physical Therapy, Tulane University with an MSW and Rocky Mountain University with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She holds certifications in several pediatric yoga styles, complete decongestive therapy for lymphedema and Infant Massage from the International Infant Massage USA program. Elizabeth has worked in a plethora of medical and community settings including hospital based, home and community centers and internationally in South America and Africa. International work included training in specialized therapy techniques and creation of sustainable community programs with identified community leaders to carry on the developmental recommendations after the medical team departed. She will be traveling to the Dominican Republic to assist in the developmental program development with a team of medical professionals in the summer of 2017. Elizabeth has been intimately involved in providing massage in the pediatric medical population for the past 30 years and is currently working in the neonatal intensive care unit where massage is often the only intervention that can safely be provided until the infant is medically stable. She integrates massage into her work with all ages in her work with children with special needs training parents to provide this calming and bonding touch in an effort to promote healing and promote the emotional and physical connections that were severed with the illness, injury or premature birth. She has spent years working with as a consultant and providing direct care with children with special needs in the aquatic environment, cycling programs, and with yoga, karate and dance programs. Prior to working at CHOP, she spent 10 years working in high-risk infant clinics and the Early Intervention Program in Baltimore City. This offered an amazing opportunity to work with parents and children in their natural environments where the emphasis was on parent-child interaction and training to optimize their experience in the home and community. In this position she also organized and managed a toy, clothing and parent advocacy program where she collected toys and clothing from families wishing to donate items and provided them to underprivileged children and families. She located the community resources and parent advocates and shared these contacts with families as appropriate to assist families in finding success and achieving their goals and dreams for their children. She utilized her social work degree to guide parents, primarily mothers, in seeking assistance for abuse, drug and alcohol problems to allow them to continue to keep their children and work toward health. She worked closely with community programs i.e. The House of Ruth in Baltimore to help young mothers find the confidence and resources to support their own health in order to provide the best homes for their children. She encouraged 3 mothers to work with her and obtain the assistance they needed for substance abuse and these 3 women returned to school and currently work with mothers who are substance abusers to guide them toward a new life and to work toward healthy relationships with their children. They also work with mothers imprisoned for abuse and neglect and help them to regain their self-confidence and their children when they have been removed. This alone is the goal of community service and a true accomplishment and testimony that showing compassion and not giving up on people will lead to their success and the ultimate success of their children and the community. Elizabeth’s 30 years of experience have laid the foundation for her work with the IMUSA program, as she is an advocate of the program and is an excellent mentor and teacher. She envisions improving knowledge and awareness of the benefits of massage to the hospital colleagues as CHOP embraces the alternative interventions, such as massage and acupuncture, in the inpatient and outpatient environments. She currently serves on the Alternative Interventions committee for CHOP and is in the process of developing a home care program to bridge the gap of services when patients are discharged and not able to attend outpatient programs or awaiting early intervention services to begin. This program will include emotional, social and therapy support to prevent parents and children from being lost to services upon discharge. She would also like to create a massage program for parents and infants in the outpatient environment. Elizabeth is excellent with her networking skills and in engaging parents and children and this would be an asset to the hospital as well as the outreach programs CHOP strives to provide. CHOP encompasses the local communities but is also an international resource and providing an infant massage program would ultimately affect families around the world with the large international community of families that access the Children’s Hospital services. Elizabeth spends time cultivating her own health through daily practice of yoga and Pilates to maintain an open mind to the possibilities that life offers to create change and promote health.


Patricia Shinde - Board Member

During my tenure as a special educator, behaviorist, and developmental specialist, I received training in infant massage, prior to the birth of the various associations and certifications. Upon implementation of this new methodology, I discovered that this was a great tool that could be used with toddlers and possibly with other children who may have some sensory or other disabilities. I then, utilized this over the course of the next several years while working with children with Autism and other developmental disabilities. I was able to see firsthand how it was a calming technique and also something that assisted children to focus better on difficult tasks. I also utilized some of these techniques while working with sensory defensive children and I saw the same results. Now that I have been working with infants and children with various developmental disabilities over the past eight years, I have discovered that these techniques as more widely used today. Among the rise of infants being born very premature 24 weeks and also the statistics of children diagnosed with Autism earlier, I think this is something that is invaluable for parents and therapists to learn during there every day routines and therapy sessions. Thus, I obtained my certification as an infant massage therapist as well as an advanced certification as an autism specialist to enable me to further my capabilities to reach these children and their families. Hence, I would like to further educate these families and therapists through my skills, experience, and knowledge by utilizing infant massage to assist children in their life attachments and overall development.



Staff

Mercedes Del Castillo - Executive Director

Mercedes Del Castillo - Executive Director

Mercedes Del Castillo is the Executive Director of Infant Massage USA.

As Executive Director, Mercedes leads a strong management team that is working to deliver IMUSA's mission to "promote nurturing touch and communication through training, education, and research so that parents, caregivers and children are loved, valued, and respected throughout the United States and the world community." Under her leadership, IMUSA is bringing together family initiatives, child wellness organizations, and parent-child enrichment programs to spread infant massage across the country.

Mercedes has spent the better part of the past 20 years managing and executing broad strategic plans. In 2000, she became the VP Operations of Diskeeper Corporation, creator of the #1 disk defragmenter for Windows computers. For the next seven years, she ensured strong collaboration between departments, orchestrated numerous highly successful software releases, and saw nearly a decade of prosperity for the business and its customers.

Mercedes has also spent time in resource acquisition and direct management, for a number of firms in Los Angeles. She brings her experiences forward to Infant Massage USA and all of its Trainers, Educators and Members.

Originally from Candlewood Isle, Conn., Mercedes graduated from Mission Valley College with a focus in Business Administration.


Chris Elkanick - Administrative Director

Chris Elkanick - Administrative Director

Chris has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Science with a minor in Accounting. After 13 years, she left the industry to be a stay-at-home mom for her infant son and his two sisters (her children are now successful young adults).

In 2007, Chris attended a CEIM Certification Training and completed her process in November of that year. In February, 2008 she became the Membership Coordinator, Financial Officer and Administrative Director of Infant Massage USA.

She has used her skills to standardize the database along with the accounting system. As her Membership and Financial responsibilities are moving to our Administrative Assistants, Chris is focusing on bringing Infant Massage USA to the forefront organizationally. Her passion is making sure Infant Massage USA has the tools and ability to assist our Students, CEIMs and all families that come to us to learn and share infant massage.


Sue Tipple - Finance Director

Sue Tipple - Finance Director

Sue has a two-year degree in Accounting and Finance.

She has worked in the Accounting field for over 35 years, over twenty of them in the hospital setting.


Wayne Wright - Enrolled Agent



Heads of Committee

Jacque Godwin - Newsletter


Mercedes Del Castillo - Parent Newsletter


Chris Elkanick - Membership

Chris Elkanick - Membership

Chris has a Bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Science with a minor in Accounting. After 13 years, she left the industry to be a stay-at-home mom for her infant son and his two sisters (her children are now successful young adults).

In 2007, Chris attended a CEIM Certification Training and completed her process in November of that year. In February, 2008 she became the Membership Coordinator, Financial Officer and Administrative Director of Infant Massage USA.

She has used her skills to standardize the database along with the accounting system. As her Membership and Financial responsibilities are moving to our Administrative Assistants, Chris is focusing on bringing Infant Massage USA to the forefront organizationally. Her passion is making sure Infant Massage USA has the tools and ability to assist our Students, CEIMs and all families that come to us to learn and share infant massage.


Barbara Zimmerman - Continuing Education Committee

Barbara Zimmerman - Continuing Education Committee

Barbara Zimmermann RN, BSN, IBCLC, CEIM is a pediatric Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who has worked with children and parents for more then 25 years. Barb is passionate about creating lifelong bonding and attachment experiences between parent and child. Currently she works as a lactation consultant in the Los Angeles area and continues to teach families the ongoing benefits of infant massage. Barbara has been the continuing education coordinator for IMUSA for the last ten years working diligently with multiple organizations to promote IMUSA as the most widely recognized Infant Massage Continuing Education Provider.



Infant Massage USA Regional Charters

Greater Chicago Area

THE GREATER CHICAGO AREA CHARTER WAS RECOGNIZED BY INFANT MASSAGE USA ON JUNE 4, 2015

Infant Massage USA Greater Chicago Area Charter
Infant Massage USA Greater Chicago Area Charter

Our Mission is to support the local Certified Educators of Infant Massage in their professional development to enrich and enhance the quality of infant massage teachings. To raise public awareness of what impact nurturing touch has on the caregiver-child relationship.

Our Purpose is to provide:

  • Support
  • Mentoring
  • Networking
  • Professional growth and development
  • Community awareness

The community we currently serve is: Chicago, Bloomington, Joliet, Decatur, Champaign, and other counties of Illinois.

Meetings: Quarterly in Chicago and other locations depending on the members’ requests.


Meet our local board:

President: Nat Vikitsreth

President Elect: Mary Lehman

Secretary: Glady Reyes

Treasurer: Norma Agron-Perez


For more information, you may contact:
Nat Vikitsreth at nat@cptwc.com, or visit our Facebook page.

Greater Los Angeles Area

GLAAC WAS CONCEIVED IN MAY, 2009 AND BIRTHED ON APRIL 26, 2010 IN SEAL BEACH, CA.

Our Mission is to support CEIM’s professional development within our community tofoster attachment through nurturing touch so that whole generations are valued and respected.

Our Purpose is to provide:

  • Support
  • Mentoring
  • Networking
  • Professional growth and development
  • Community awareness

The community we currently serve is: San Clemente to Ventura.

Meetings: Quarterly in Seal Beach, CA


  • Meet our local board:
  • President: Angelica Garcia
  • President Elect: Suzie Bennett
  • Secretary: Barbara Zimmermann
  • Treasurer: Maribel Soriano
  • Membership: Melba Schefres

    For more information, you may contact:

    Angelica Garcia
    Monrovia, CA 91016
    Email: angelicagarcia45@adelphia.net

    Melba Schefrenos
    Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
    Email: mschefres2002@yahoo.com
    Phone: 626.674.8140

    Maribel Soriano
    Fullerton, CA 92835
    Email: teacher.soriano@att.net
    Phone: 714.457.8845

    Barbara Zimmerman
    Los Angeles, CA 90045
    Email: barb.zimmerman@infantmassageusa.org
    Phone: 310.720.5916


  • Advisory Board

    Rosemarie Bigsby - Sc.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

    Rosemarie Bigsby - Sc.D., OTR/L, FAOTA

    Rosemarie Bigsby is renowned for her knowledge, skill and expertise. She has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist and consultant for over 30 years, including 17 years in the NICU, in the combined roles of therapist, educator and researcher.

    She is Coordinator of NICU Services for the Brown Center for the Study of Children At Risk, Department of Pediatrics, Women & Infants’ Hospital, Providence, RI and Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Human Behavior, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

    She is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association, a contributor to the AOTA guidelines for NICU Practice, and the author of a number of journal articles and book chapters.

    She is co-author of Developmental & Therapeutic Interventions in the NICU, a book for NICU therapists, and The Posture & Fine Motor Assessment of Infants, and contributed to the development of the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale (NNNS).

    Her research focuses on motor development, behavioral cues, physiologic regulation and feeding in early infancy.

    Rose conducts workshops on Intervention for the High Risk NICU Infants. Read more about them here.

    Contact Rosemarie: rosemarie_bigsby@brown.edu

    Mary Gengler Fuhr - OTR/L

    Mary Gengler Fuhr - OTR/L

    Mary Gengler Fuhr, OTR/L, has practiced occupational therapy in pediatrics for over 20 years in developmental centers, private practice and the public schools. She has been certified to teach infant massage through IAIM since 1983.

    She is co-author of the book & video Pediatric Massage for the Child with Special Needs with Kathy Fleming Drehobl, OTR/L.

    She is trained in Yogafit and has participated in the Yogafit Kids and Yogafit Seniors course.

    She is trained in Yogafit and has participated in the Yogafit Kids and Yogafit Seniors course.

    Mary has completed the basic and baby NDT class and has a strong background in sensory integration including SCSIT and SIPT training.

    She is the owner of Relaxing Resources Inc and provides therapy & workshops at The MindSource Center in Covington.

    She provides occupational therapy, education, and support services to families with children with special needs including autism spectrum disorder, sensory processing disorder, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, etc.

    In addition she teaches courses on Self-Regulation, Sensory Processing, Yoga and Pediatric Massage in collaboration with a Mental Health Counselor or a Physical Therapist.

    Contact Mary: mary@relaxingresources.com


    Honorary Board

    Sir Richard Bowlby - Bt

    Sir Richard Bowlby - Bt

    Honorary Research Fellow, Attachment Research Unit, Dept. of Psychology, University Collage London, 2000 – 2003.

    Sir Richard Bowlby became interested in the field of developmental psychology after thirty years working as a scientific photographer in some of the UK’s leading medical research centers. He has spent many years studying the work of his father Dr. John Bowlby, and now incorporates the current research findings on attachment theory into his presentations about children’s early relationships.

    Peggy O’Mara - Editor Mothering Magazine

    Peggy O’Mara - Editor Mothering Magazine

    Peggy O'Mara is the mother of four grown children. She has gained international celebrity as publisher, editor and owner of Mothering Magazine. She is also the author of two books: Having a Baby Naturally: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and Natural Family Living: The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting. A dynamic speaker, she has lectured and conducted workshops for many national organizations.

    Martha Sears - RN, Author

    Martha Sears - RN, Author

    Martha, wife of renowned pediatrician William Sears, MD, is the mother of eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League Leader, and a lactation consultant.

    Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest, drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her 8 children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter).

    William Sears - MD, Pediatrician, Author

    William Sears - MD, Pediatrician, Author

    William Sears, one of America’s most renowned pediatricians, is the father of 8 children, ages 15 to 40 years, author of over 40 books on childcare, and Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. A pediatrician for over 35 years, he currently lives and practices pediatrics along with his three sons Dr. Bob and Dr. Jim, and Dr. Pete in San Clemente, California.


    International Association of Infant Massage



    Governing Board

    Conferences and General Assemblies

    International Association of Infant Massage 2012 Educational Conference (Brochure PDF)

    The International Association of Infant Massage has chapters in more than 30 countries and contact persons for another 25 countries. Find your country on the International website.


    General Assembly

    Following each International Conference a 2-day International General Assembly takes place.

    The General Assembly (GA) is formed by Chapter Representatives. It works with voting process and is responsible for electing the International Board, voting guidelines for international budget, voting IAIM policies and establishing links between the Chapters and the International Board. The General Assembly meets every other year and in between works with fax and mailing process. Everyone can be present at the General Assembly, but only one Chapter representative per Chapter can vote.

    To date the following International General Assemblies have taken place:

    • Coming: 2016 - Paris, France
    • 2014 - Punta Leona, Costa Rica
    • 2012 – Lisboa, Portugal
    • 2010 – London, United Kingdom
    • 2008 – Denver, Colorado, USA
    • 2006 – Barcelona, Spain
    • 2004 – Montreal, Canada
    • 2002 – Budapest, Hungary
    • 2000 – Ottawa, Canada
    • 1998 – London, England, United Kingdom
    • 1996 – Montreal, Canada
    • 1994 – Copenhagen, Denmark
    • 1992 – Orlando, Florida USA