Those of us who have experienced massage know the many benefits it provides. From soothing tired muscles to helping relieve the emotional stress that we usually carry in our shoulders and neck area, massage is a wonderful habit for us adults. However, few of us consider just how beneficial this practice can also be for infants and young children.
A new study suggests that massage may help newborns develop a more regular sleep cycle, which can mean many more hours of uninterrupted sleep for new parents. Done in the perinatal period, massage therapy serves as a strong time cue, helping infants to co-ordinate their developing circadian system with environmental cues. Circadian rhythm is the biological clock that helps humans adjust to the earth’s 24 hour rotational time.
The study further shows that after 8 weeks of massage, infants exhibit an activity pattern that is more closely aligned with mom’s. That is, their peak activity occurs during the early morning hours and continues into the afternoon. The nighttime massages act as strong time cues that help the baby align with mom’s Night/Day cycle.
Massage is a wonderful tool for keeping that intimate bond between parent and child going long past infancy. It is also an effective way for your older children to incorporate this healthy habit into their regular lives.
The power of touch is something we all use to comfort and quiet our children and now, with direction of a licensed massage therapist who is trained in infant and child massage, we can go beyond that calming touch to actually impact their health and well-being.
We recommend 30 minute sessions with you and a therapist for infants from 10 weeks to 18 months of age. From 19 months on we suggest that you consider interactive therapy where you and your child learn massage techniques to practice on each other. We also know that many children who suffer from certain forms of hyperactivity and other health issues can benefit greatly from regular massage. As always, consult with your pediatrician before beginning a program for your child.
Beyond Harmony offers all of these massage services to children and their parents as well as pregnancy massage. Call 661-298-8008 for questions or more information.