5 Things You Didn’t Know About Baby Massage
1. Ancient Eastern Origins
Baby massage has been practiced for hundreds of years in countries such as India, Africa and Latin America and it is a big part of their culture helping mother and baby to form a powerful deep connection. Baby massage was only introduced in western society from 1973. It was discovered and brought over by Vimala Schneider McClure an American travelling around India, who was working in an orphanage where massage was being used on the young and old. She fell ill and the people of the village massaged her back to health.
2. Enhances brain development and coordination
Massage stimulates the sensory nervous system using touch. These sensory nerves link to the brain and stimulate serotonin and dopamine production, which increases energy, alertness and enhances memory. It also helps to coordinate the left and right lobes of the brain which assists in the development of movement patterns such as crawling.
3. It can help with postnatal depression
A study was conducted at Imperial College London with mothers suffering post natal depression, who attended a course of 5 massage classes. When compared with a similar group who went to a support group, it was found that the mothers who attended the massage classes had significantly less depression and better interaction with their babies than the other group.
4. Can improve breastfeeding
Baby massage can help improve breastfeeding and therefore weight gain in babies because it stimulates the release of hormones for lactation including oestrogen and oxytocin
5. Can soothe colic, help with constipation and trapped wind
These are very common symptoms in babies, especially those who have had a complicated delivery. Massage is a great way at providing relief for these symptoms as it stimulates the nerves which run to the digestive system and also helps improve the tone of these digestive muscles.