The Benefits of Infant Massage
I feel like infant massage is a secret that needs to be shared. It has so many benefits and I think our society would ultimately benefit from it with all the other stress we face each day.
- Luana L, Pennsylvania, RN
Numerous studies have shown the many developmental benefits of positive contact as part of baby’s early life. Touch is your baby’s first language and infant massage is one of the most natural and pleasant methods of providing this early nurturing contact.
Click the video to the right to hear from Sam & Charlotte who attended an infant massage class in 2018.
View more benefits and information about what it’s like to attend a class below.
When we talk about the benefits of infant massage we see 4 main categories - Stimulation, Relaxation, Relief and Interaction. Below we look at a few of the most commonly referenced benefits of infant massage along with how our program supports them.
SUPPORTING INFANT/CHILD DEVELOPMENT
Infants who experience regular massage often see reduced stress, nervous system improvements and improved self-regulation and body-awareness.
In relevant studies, parents have reported improvements in many developmental aspects like muscle tone, joint mobility, gastrointestinal issues and response to forms of therapy (such as physiotherapy). It is especially helpful for children who require extra support, including babies born premature, babies born addicted, and HIV+ babies.
Our classes teach parents/caregivers how to incorporate nurturing touch safely into their lives and with the individualized attention their baby deserves.
REDUCING VIOLENCE AND ABUSE
The CDC identifies nurturing parenting skills as one of the most important protective factors for lessening child abuse and neglect, with approaches that enhance parent skills and promote healthy child development having a demonstrated effect on prevention.
Our classes ensure parents/caregivers are educated on nurturing touch, bonding techniques, communication and behavioral states as well as broader developmental benefits.
SUPPORTING BONDING & ATTACHMENT
Research supports that infant massage and infant massage parent education programs can increase parent confidence and attachment, result in greater success in adapting to and developing strategies to cope with parenthood and can benefit mothers with postpartum depression by helping them to relate to their baby and inducing the release of oxytocin.
Our classes are cue-based and baby-driven. Parents/Caregivers are encouraged to respond to the individual needs of their babies. The classes are warm and relaxing, allowing individual baby’s needs to be considered and the small class sizes (or individual support) and structured once-a-week format allows the time and space to learn from each others’ knowledge and experiences.
IMPROVING SLEEP QUALITY
Bedtime routines, especially those including infant massage, have shown to improve multiple aspects of the sleep cycle for both the child and the parent/caregiver.
In our classes, parents/caregivers learn quiet activities (massage, nurturing touch, lullabies etc.) and spend time recognizing their child’s ways of communicating, which are ideal for bedtime routines and can make nights less stressful for everyone.
Attending an Infant Massage Class
IMUSA courses are offered over 4-6 weeks, to give both the parent and baby time to learn and become comfortable with massage.
Each week, parents learn strokes for a new part of the body while reviewing strokes from previous classes, so new strokes are learned and previous information is reinforced. We teach a little at a time to ensure that you are confident with every aspect.
The strokes and styles of baby massage are easier to grasp when demonstrated by our experienced instructors. Pressure, rate, rhythm, the length of the massage, respect, bonding, why baby cries, baby’s body language, positioning of the baby, relaxation and parent empowerment are some of the skills and topics that will be discussed.
Are always held in small groups or individually to ensure personalized attention.
Are baby led, it’s okay for babies to cry! Parents/Caregivers are encouraged to listen their baby’s needs.
Include time for supportive group discussion where parents can share experiences and learn from each other while having fun.
May be structured as individual classes, home visits or instruction through social agencies.
Do not include the Educator touching or massaging your baby during class, they will demonstrate on a doll.
Recommended age for group classes is from birth to pre-crawling.
You’ll learn -
Massage strokes & touch relaxation
Bonding techniques & ways to recognize your baby’s cues
How to ask permission & how doing so builds respect
How to choose the best oil for your massage
How to identify the best time for massage & ways to work it into your daily life
After earning their certification, Educators may use materials they have developed based on their training or utilize the Sensational Baby materials that IMUSA has developed specifically for our Members. Sensational Baby classes offer a consistent and IMUSA approved class curriculum. Find Sensational Baby Providers in your area today.
Lectures & Workshops For Your Group
Our educators also regularly conduct in-services and demonstrations for professional groups and conferences. Get in touch with an Educator today to discuss your needs.