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Infant Massage Therapy

Infant Massage Therapy In Vancouver

Infant Massage
1. Infant Massage Therapy In Vancouver

Infant Massage Therapy Vancouver

What is Infant Massage Therapy In Vancouver?

Infant Massage therapy which is done specifically on infants by qualified and trained massage
therapists is categorized as Infant or Pediatric Massage. The use of infant massage therapy
dates back to ancient times, primarily found in cultures with relation to Asia and The Pacific
Islands. The belief that touch is considered both physically and spiritually beneficial to our health
may have played a key role in why it was an integral aspect of nurturing the health and well-
being of infants.

History

Historical records show infant massage therapy being used in the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) in
China, as well as in Ayurvedic medicine in India around 1800 B.C. Some cultures, such as
Maori and Hawaiian, implemented massage therapy as a regular aspect of a baby’s bath
routine.

A French physician and one of the leaders of the natural childbirth movement, Dr. Frederic
Leboyer, published a photojournalistic book on the Indian art of baby massage in the 1970s and
became well known for his role in popularizing infant massage during this time.
A yoga practitioner who had served an orphanage in Northern India named Vimala Schneider
McClure is credited with introducing infant massage therapy to the United States in 1978. She
became known as the highest authority on infant massage due to her ability to utilize her
knowledge of Swedish massage, reflexology, and yoga in babies. At the request of childbirth
educators, she developed a training program for infant massage therapy and founded the
International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) in 1986.
McClure then began teaching other healthcare practitioners the benefits of infant massage,
including the effects of touch on babies who are in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
She also taught infant massage to mothers who were experiencing postpartum depression. The
popularity of infant massage has grown exponentially since McClure introduced it to the United
States. In 2010, the IAIM had over 14 000 members in over 80 countries.

Benefits

Many benefits are associated with infant massage therapy. These benefits can be seen in both
the short term and long term for both the infant and the parent / guardian.
What Are The Benefits Of Infant Massage For Babies?

Studies have shown that infant massage can have a positive effect on babies. Some of the
benefits that have been reported include:

● Improved sleeping patterns
● Increased weight gain in premature babies
● Reduced gas and colic
● Reduced fussiness
● Improved cognitive development
● Stimulates the nervous system
● Improved immune system function
● Improved bonding between parent and child
● Reduced stress levels / hormones
● Aids in digestion
● Relieves teething pain
● Helps with constipation
● Improves circulation
● Improves muscle tone
● Increases body awareness

What Are The Benefits Of Infant Massage For Parents?

Parents often find that infant massage provides them with a chance to spend quality time with
their baby. It also allows them to learn more about their baby’s cues and needs. Parents often
report feeling more confident and bonded with their babies after learning how to massage them.
They also report feeling more relaxed and less stressed.

Treatment

Many different techniques can be used during infant massage therapy. The most common
strokes that are used are effleurage, petrissage, and tapotement. Effleurage is a light, stroking
movement that is used to relax the muscles and is often used to begin and end a massage.
Petrissage is a kneading movement that is used to release tension in the muscles and is often
used on the back, legs, and arms. Tapotement is a tapping or percussive movement that is
used to stimulate the muscles and is often used on the back and legs.
Infant massage therapy can be done using oil, lotion, or cream. It is important to use a
hypoallergenic product that will not irritate the baby’s skin. The treatment should be done in a
quiet room with dim lighting. The room should be warm enough so that the baby is comfortable,
and ideally wearing a diaper. A towel can be used to keep the baby warm if necessary. The
strokes should be gentle and slow at first with a generous amount of parental involvement,
soothing voices, and happy sounds. The pressure can be increased as the baby becomes more
relaxed. It is important to pay attention to the baby’s cues – if the baby becomes fussier, the
strokes should be lighter and if the baby falls asleep, the treatment should end. Infant massage
therapy can be done once or twice a day for 10-15 minutes.
A Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) can also analyze condition-specific techniques, such as
for colic, and help the parent / guardian on how to properly implement them into their baby’s
treatment plan. Infant massage therapy is a greatly beneficial and positive way to calm a baby,

as well as to promote bonding. However, massage therapy is not always easy for all parents /
guardians to pick up, so it’s important for them to not be discouraged if they are not able to
immediately grasp the skill. This just means that they may need to practice pediatric massage
therapy with their baby some more, and with each practice, will develop a deeper, loving bond
with their baby. Once the parent / guardian confidently understands what massage techniques
their infant seems to respond to, then they may want to apply massage therapy to their infant at
home.
Regular pediatric massage therapy for infants is beneficial to their physical, mental, and
emotional well-being. Massaging babies increases the bonding connection which is imperative
for their overall health.

Christina Sharma, RMT
(Massage Therapy Vancouver)

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