The Body Restoration Massage Group
Prenatal & Postnatal In-Home Mobile Massage
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Infant Massage Las Vegas
Relief of discomfort
Massage releases both oxytocin and endorphins and therefore can assist in relieving discomfort
from teething, congestion, colic and emotional stress.
Teething: teething has been described as a painful struggle for some babies. Though infant massage has
not been proven to relieve all discomfort associated with teething it can be successfully used in
conjunction with the parent’s choice of care during these times. In addition to providing the infant
with reassurance and comfort, the endorphins and oxytocins released assist with pain relief
and mood enhancement.
Congestion: Chest congestion
The Swedish massage technique for ‘breaking up’ the congestion of mucous in the chest involves a
form of tapotement. This technique, when learnt and practiced properly, can ‘break up’ the
mucous in the lungs making it easier for infants to eliminate the excess mucous.
Massaging the sinuses on the face helps clear the sinuses of excess mucous. This is helpful to infants as
it eases the process of ridding the nasal passage of excess mucous.
Colic: IMIS defines colic as painful gas causing a distended, firm abdomen, which takes an infant
a long period of time to eliminate without assistance. Repeating a small series of strokes on the abdomen
has been used to relieve colic. In addition to this the stoking helps the infant to relax so that tension does
not escalate their discomfort. We believe that a daily massage (incorporating correct massage of the abdomen)
can help in preventing colic. By applying gentle pressure to the abdomen while stroking using a specific
sequence, small amounts of gas trapped between other substances can be moved through the colon,
assisting in elimination. If these small amounts are consistently being eliminated a build up of gas can
Emotional Stress: Infants sometimes use their massage time to weep and though IMIS does not
recommend that stroking continue through this crying we do believe this emotional release is positive. Studies
have shown that withholding emotions can lead to health problems; it is for this reason that qualified
instructors encourage parents to view an emotional release during massage as an opportunity to truly
listen to their child and allow them to release tension. On a more technical aspect, once again this
benefit also comes back to the release of oxytocin – the body’s natural mood enhancer.
2. Speeds myelination of the brain and nervous system
Skin stimulation speeds the process of myelination of the brain and nervous system therefore improving
brain-body communication and enhancing neural-cell firing.
3. Relaxation and enhancement of neurological development
Massage provides both stress and relaxation for an infant, both being components of optimum learning
conditions. During massage an infant may experience both stress and relaxation. Increased circulation,
the air on their skin, the stimulation of stroking, are all potentially stressful to a newborn, yet these are
balanced with the reassurance the parent’s voice, odour and touch provide. This kind of balance is
essential for the learning process. Stress causes the pituitary gland to produce ACTH
Experiments where laboratory animals are given ACTH show growth of millions of new connecting links
between the neurons. This is what enables the brain to process information and, applied to infants, this
process aids in converting new and stressful situations into something that is recognised as predictable.
If not balanced with relaxation an overload of stress can result in the decrease of sensory intake,
something that is essential if infants are to reach their full potential.
It is estimated that stress plays a part in 60-90% of all illnesses so it may follow suit that infant massage,
which provides the balance of relaxation will assist infants in learning to effectively cope with stress
and, based on this above estimate may in fact be healthier because of it.
Some infants sleep for longer periods following massage and appear to have longer periods of deep sleep.
This seems to please most parents and is often the reason they seek an infant massage course. As with
many other situations involving infants, a course of action that is effective with one infant does not apply
to the next. There are cases where the problematic sleep pattern of infants is not affected by massage.
5. Stimulates the vagus nerve
Dr. Tiffany Field, founder of the Touch Research Institute in Florida, found that massage stimulates the
vagus nerve. Cranial nerve X, the vagus nerve has many interesting functions including increasing peristalsis.
Defined by Thibadeau and Patton in ‘Anatomy and Physiology’, peristalsis are “wave like, rhythmic
contractions of the stomach and intestines that move food material along the digestive tract.” Therefore
we can conclude that MASSAGE STIMULATES AND AIDS DIGESTION. The vagus nerve’s sensory fibres also
supply the lungs. A study conducted at the Touch Research Institute showed that following one month of
20 minute massages each night, asthmatic children could breath better. (Based on their daily peak airflow
readings). From this we conclude that MASSAGE DEEPENS RESPIRATION.
6. Teaches infants that touch is a form of expression.
7. Helps tone muscles and aids growth
8. Enhances the bonding process
9. Increases infant’s body awareness
IMIS instructors encourage parents to name body parts during massage. This simple practice teaches
infants games, words and speech. In addition to this, newborns still adapting to an environment without
the boundaries of the womb may learn things such as where their body starts and finishes and that their
feet and hands are in fact attached to the rest of their body.
10. Strengthens the immune system
A study conducted at the Touch Research Institute in Miami, Florida, found that massage
resulted in a significant increase is Natural Killer Cell numbers. Natural Killer cells are a group
of white blood cells that kill many types of tumor cells. This is thought to have particularly
positive implications for children suffering from HIV and cancer.
11. Teaches children from birth that they are in charge of their own body and that it is
ok for them to say no to people touching them...
IMIS teaches parents to interpret an infant’s body language in regards to massage. We recommend that
when they interpret a ‘no cue’ from the infant to respond appropriately by either not continuing or not
beginning the massage. By respecting the child’s rejection of touch, parents are teaching their infant
that he/she deserves respect when it comes to making decisions about who touches their body and that it
is ok to say no if you don’t want to be touched.
12. Increases oxygen and nutrient flow to the cells
13. Increases circulation
14. Improves sensory awareness
15. Helps encourage midline orientation
This assists with coordination and balance.
16. Parents feel more confident in their new role...
knowing that they can do something themselves to enhance the health and
development of their child.
17. Massage provides quality time with a working parent
18. Increases the parent’s ability to help relax their child in times of stress
19. Is relaxing and fun for parents
20. Can involve the father...
… to assist in....alleviating the possible feelings that they are being left out.
(Particularly common when the mother is breast-feeding).
21. Enables parents to be more receptive to their baby
Interpreting the infant’s body language during massage is certainly a part of this, but on a
medical level, parents who massage each day are more likely to notice a change in their child’s physical
condition. For example, they may feel a strange lump that may have gone un-noticed for a period of time
with an infant who was not receiving massage.
22. Infant massage is fun!
We have heard this time and time again. Watch a parent massage their child – you can definitely see
the enjoyment being reciprocated between the two. The feedback we receive from parents
and infants (through body language) indicates that they are as eager as each other when
it comes to be time for their daily massage routine.
Some Tips on Massaging Your Baby Yourself
Make massage a regular part of your baby's schedule. Plan the massage for around the same time every
day, such as after a bath, before going to bed, first thing in the morning or when you arrive home from work.
Make sure the room you are in is warm enough so your baby will be comfortable unclothed. A very young
baby should be kept covered except for the part of the body that is being massaged.
Place your baby in a position that is comfortable for both of you. The best position is supine, with the
baby's head propped on a pillow or wedge in front of you. That way, you can read your baby's expressions
during the massage.
Use baby oil or lotion (I like Grapeseed Oil) to help your hands and fingers slide over your your baby's skin.
Do not use "nut oil" as it may be an allergen.
Learn to read your baby's non-verbal cues.
Remember that most babies find downward strokes to be calming and upward strokes to be stimulating.
On newborns, downward strokes work best.
Make sure your strokes are firm enough to not tickle. Many babies find tickling unpleasant.
Newborn massage should be limited to the legs, feet, arms and hands and should last no more than three
to five minutes. Once your baby is a month old, you can add massages for the stomach and chest and increase
the time to ten minutes. After two months, you can begin massaging the back and head and the entire massage
can last as long as 15 minutes.
Don't try to massage your baby when your baby is not already relaxed and alert.
Never perform infant massage on a soft surface such as a bed or couch. Use a changing table or the
floor so your baby is laying on a firm surface.
Never warm oil or lotion in a microwave. Warm it in your hands until it reaches skin temperature.
Don't keep massaging an infant that doesn't seem to enjoy it. Signs that your baby isn't ready or that it's
time to stop for the day can include: stiffening; holding his or her breath; crankiness or irritability;
crying; or looking away from you.
If your baby is easily over stimulated, don't talk or sing during the massage.
Don't use the deep muscle massage techniques that you would for an adult. In infants, massage is done
on the surface, with very little pressure and slow, gentle strokes.
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A VERY HAPPY BABY
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