Tips from a PT: The Benefits of Infant Massage

Infant massage is a great way to connect to your baby, both physically and emotionally. There are several benefits beyond the connection as well. Physical therapists and occupational therapists can become certified infant massage instructors so they can teach parents and caregivers the techniques.

"Massaging babies for up to 15 minutes a day can help to increase circulation, promote relaxation, aid the digestive and respiratory systems, and relieve muscle tension." Infant massage can help relieve muscle tension in a baby who has torticollis (tight neck and trunk) so that the baby can move his or her body more easily. It can also relieve muscle tension in babies with oral motor restrictions and can help with feeding. Another great reason to perform infant massage is for digestion help...think of those babies that are constipated or gassy. There are specific strokes on the abdomen to help with the flow of the intestines. Massage can contribute to infant development by stimulating growth in the body and mind.

Another great benefit to infant massage is that it can help with sleep...don't we all need that?! Specific infant massage strokes for sleep can help reduce and release stress (yes, babies can have stress from too much stimulation, too much light or noise, hunger, sleepiness, teething, difficulty moving, etc). This means more sleep for baby and parents...that's a win-win for sure!!

If you're interested in infant massage for your little one, you can search for infant massage instructors through most infant massage teaching corporations. You can also check with local occupational or physical therapists to see if they are certified or know someone who is certified.

Whitney Castle, PT, DPT