Here at the Estuary Clinic Topsham, Exeter we offer a 6 week Baby Massage course for babies aged 6 weeks or over. We also offer private group sessions at a time convenient for you and your friends – just call us at the clinic for more information and for dates of the next course.
Baby massage has been used for centuries in some cultures. It has been adopted in Western countries in recent times and is now becoming very popular.
Of all the senses touch is the most primal and is the first sense to develop, even before birth. Touch is important for your baby to learn about their new environment. Baby massage is a wonderful way for you and your baby to communicate and learn from each other. Your baby is able to sense how you feel by how you touch them and at the same time you can learn your baby’s cues and responses to your touch.
Our baby massage course is run by our Physiotherapist and Baby Massage Instructor Ruth and will teach you various techniques and routines as to how to safely massage and have fun with your baby. The course includes oil, an instruction booklet and tea and cake afterwards. We also include relaxation techniques for the parent and keep class sizes small to offer you lots of individual attention.
Please bring a changing mat and towel and your changing and feeding items.
Baby Massage offers physical and emotional relaxation for both you and your baby. Evidence and anecdotes from parents suggests that Baby Massage may have the following benefits.
Benefits for Baby
· Reduces stress behaviours of the baby
· Stimulates circulatory & digestive systems
· Positive effects on neurological and neuromotor development
· Promotes sleep
· Relieves discomfort caused by colic, constipation & wind
· Stimulates release of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) that has a calming effect
· Baby relaxes and gains trust, confidence and closeness to parent
· Physiological flexion caused by your baby’s position in the womb decreases and range of movement, flexibility and coordination increases. This also encourages good posture.
· Massage with oil nourishes the skin and has been shown to improve skin barrier function
· Long term benefits are not well established but there is evidence that healthy relationships between parent and child can prevent social and emotional difficulties later in life
Benefits for Parents
· Reduces stress levels and provides relaxation
· Increases your confidence in holding/handling your baby
· Provides space for you to have one-on-one time with your baby
· Increases your knowledge of your baby’s reactions to touch
· Gives you a chance to talk to and form friendships with other parents
· Studies have shown baby massage may benefit parents suffering from post-natal depression
Cheng, C. D., Volk, A. A. & Marini, Z. A. (2011) ‘Supporting Fathering Through Infant Massage’. J Perinat Educ. Fall; 20(4): 200–209
International Association of Infant Massage. http://www.iaimbabymassage.co.uk(accessed 27.02.14)
Kulkarni et al 2010. ‘Massage and touch therapy in neonates: the current evidence’.Indian Pediatr. Sep;47(9):771-6.
Health, A. & Bainbridge, N. (2004) Baby massage. The calming power of touch. Dorling Kindersley Limited. London
Walker, P. (2011) Baby Massage. Proven techniques that will aid your baby’s development and strengthen the bond between you. Carol & Brown Publishers Limited. London
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