What are some of the benefits of infant massage?
There are many diverse benefits to infant massage.
Physiologically. There is evidence to show that infant massage improves digestion, circulation, gastrointestinal, and hormonal function. Massage also has relaxation benefits.
Physically. There is evidence that infant massage is related to changes in muscle tone and body awareness.
Social-emotional. If we look socially and emotionally, there is a relationship with engagement, bonding and attachment, increased self-esteem, acceptance, as well as respect and trust in relationships.
Cognitively. There is a relationship with understanding cause-and-effect type of interactions and increased attention span.
Communication. Infant massage has benefits for pre-speech skills like eye contact, gazing, listening, turn-taking, and ability to read infant cues.
Self-help. If we look at the self-help benefits, infant massage can benefit oral awareness for feeding. It can benefit soothing to sleep, relaxation, and stress relief.
Editor’s note: This Ask the Expert was adapted from the course, ‘Infant Massage: An Intervention for the Occupation of Family Social Participation’ that is available in text, video and audio course formats.