Did you know that babies, the future of our species, can be stressed out? That they can become unable to metabolize the nutrition given to them despite all the love we may feel for them? Who knew?
Picture this. It’s a true story… An Infant Massage Instructor is called by a foster mother who says she has been asked to look after a premature baby, 8 days old, who simply can not stop crying, night and day. His mom was a person addicted to cocaine and the baby had been born while she was still using cocaine. The baby was going through withdrawal. Would massage help the child? The Infant Massage Instructor said, “I don’t know. However, massage can be of benefit. Let’s give it a go and see what happens.”
They meet in the foster mom’s warm kitchen. After the appropriate protocols, they see that the infant is becoming calmer and quieter. And he slips into a gentle sleep. It’s been 8 days of major stress for the poor fellow and finally, he seems to be able to rest. Peacefully. He is then bundled up and cuddled. The next day the foster mom calls to say the little guy has had a full night’s sleep.
Belief in the magic of touch.
The Touch Research Institute, begun by Dr. Tiffany Field, PhD, has done an amazing amount of research on the power of touch in people from infants to much older. Their research has seen improvements in infants experiencing pain, weight gain, and a decreased number of days in hospital post-birth. I believe it comes down to that old-fashioned human connection – the human touch.
A summary of their research looks like this:
For babies and children, massage provides and promotes a time for one-on-one communication and attachment. They feel loved, acknowledged and heard. Both participants can have this time to really connect with each other – a much-needed boost for parents wondering if they are spending quality time with their children. Physiological challenges like gas, constipation, asthma, teething and colic can be relieved. Sleep patterns improve and the baby’s neurological, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems are better, too. Infant massage can also be adapted to assist babies with special needs.
In an interview with Massage Magazine in January, Dr. Field says that massage is “As important as diet and exercise in our children’s healthy growth and development.” It changes not just the feeling of being stressed out; it changes your entire physiology. Well, I can attest to that, too!
Basically, good, healthy, safe touch pays big dividends both for you and your family. It’s worth investigating.
If you are interested in learning how to give an infant massage, please call the clinic at 902-425-7759 to arrange a time with Paula.