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Infant and Pediatric Massage Certification

Approved for 8 Online Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU's) for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists

Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.



Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience. 

Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.



Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience. 

Introduction
History
Summary

Infant massage is about love. It is more than the mere physical act of massaging a newborn, far beyond the rubbing of muscles and stretching of joints. It is among the most precious gifts you can give an infant. The very heart of infant massage involves the coming together of two beings in a divine act of loving through touching. Not only does the baby receive the tender intimacy of caresses, but the giver benefits in turn with the responses given back.

We can talk about mechanics and procedures; we can quote the results from many studies. But at the heart infant massage is a conduit for connecting parent and infant through touch at one of the most vulnerable times in development. Massaging an infant in a loving and compassionate manner can lead to frequent meaningful and responsive interactions—exactly what babies want and need. The experience begins long before birth within the mother’s womb. Once birth occurs, we must continue with the touching, holding, and caressing that forms what Ashley Montagu called “the womb with a view.” Infant massage promotes attachment and bonding between parent and child.

“Here in the United States, which is a low-touch society, mothers and babies are apart most of the day, a fact that ranks our infants among the least held on this earth.” This comment from Sharon Heller’s book The Vital Touch suggests both the need for and the increasing awareness in this country of infant massage.1 Indeed, type the terms infant massage, baby massage, pediatric massage into a search engine and you will be rewarded with more than 4 million notations and page after page of websites to click on. One thing those websites tell you is that infant massage has been around for centuries.

Mothers have been practicing the art of infant massage since the beginning of time, using their innate wisdom to touch, love, and discover their newborns (Box 6-1). It is a traditional practice and a means of intergenerational sharing in many societies across the world—particularly in “simpler” cultures where people are accustomed to expressing their love through a form of communication that does not need words.

It is only natural for a mother to massage her newborn as it emerges from the womb. “For more than a million years,” notes Sharon Heller in The Vital Touch,1 “mothers have carried their infants almost continuously, slept with them at night, nursed them frequently the first two to four years of life, and offered immediate comfort,” including massage (Box 6-2). In the past 40 years, the United States has begun to embrace the massaging of infants in what is considered a parent-baby activity.

BOX 6-2    Infant Massage in 1894

One of the first recorded mentions of infant massage in the United States dates from 1894, in a book called The Care and Feeding of Children by Dr. Emmett Holt. Holt described some therapeutic effects of massage on young children. His advice was quite good for its time and in fact remains so today:

“What are some simple means by which constipation may be relieved? The best are diet, suppositories, and massage. Massage consists in rubbing the abdomen, which may be done in two ways; Beginning at the right groin, the hand is carried up to the ribs, then across to the opposite side, then around to the left groin. The abdomen is stroked gently at first and afterward—deeper pressure used as the child becomes accustomed to it. The second method is by rubbing the deeper parts with a circular movement—the fingers not moving upon the skin—making a series of small circles, beginning at the right groin and following the same course as described above. Either method should be employed for six or eight minutes twice a day, at almost any regular time, except soon after a meal.” (The care and feeding of children, ed 6, New York, 1912, D Appleton)

Much seminal work was done by Dr. Frederick Leboyer, whose highly popular 1976 book Loving Hands became the basis for most of today’s infant massage training in the United States.4 A pioneer in the study of newborn awareness and a frequent visitor to India, Leboyer captured the art from the mothers he saw in the villages there. In his poetic book, he describes the need for a baby to be fed both inside and outside. “A baby’s belly is hungry, no doubt,” he wrote. “But its skin is just as hungry. Its skin is craving, and so is its back, and so is its spine, craving for touch, craving for sensations. Just as its belly craves for milk.”4

Soon after Leboyer’s book came out, massage therapist’s license fresh in hand, I began teaching infant massage based on my own personal experiences and observations. As my practice began to grow, I connected with other individuals who had the same passion for this 96work. We joined together and formed the International Association of Infant Massage Instructors. As business director for 10 years, I helped to guide the organization, with two babies in arms, as it grew and developed worldwide. In 1992, I established the International Loving Touch Foundation, which exists today to help realize the dream of Leboyer, my grandmother, and others by furthering the art of infant massage and training new generations of infant massage instructors.

As this chapter makes very clear, all babies should be massaged, touched, and loved to promote their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Mothers have been practicing the art of infant massage for centuries and will continue as the knowledge is spread. As an early intervention strategy and therapeutic tool, infant massage is a specialized modality and is increasing in practice worldwide. It is being embraced by a wide variety of professionals who are incorporating it into their daily practices to help families with healthy developing newborns as well as those with children with special needs. Techniques are simple and effective and are performed most successfully by parents and primary caregivers who have been taught by certified infant massage instructors. The approach is empowering and improves the parent-infant attachment process. There is a growing body of research that supports the therapeutic benefits. Infant massage is a crucial and routine part of infant care around the world and has the ability to bring great benefits for both parents and the newborn.

See this technique in practice

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