Why the gift of touch is vital to the health of babies
A loving touch and caress from the parent can significantly influence the emotional and mental development and stability of a baby, and over time, an individual.
- What is infant massage?
- “The reservoir of pain”
- The importance of infant massage before birth
- What’s the massage benefti for babies?
"Can something that feels this good really help your baby's brain grow?" This ad was posted several years ago all over Chicago's trains. If you cannot guess what is "that something", is simply "your loving touch".
What is infant massage?
Infant massage is a parenting tradition within many ancient cultures and gradually its importance has been incorporated to the Western societies as well. Eastern philosophies assert that touching, caressing and massaging make the baby feel complete. Particularly, in the cases of babies who are born prematurely, the importance of infant massage is further increased.
“The reservoir of pain”
A supporting view to infant touch comes from several studies, which hold that frustrations of grown-up individuals have a root in early childhood, or even in premature phase. Unwanted by their parents, not caressed or stroked enough as children, people develop over time the so called "reservoir of pain". In that "reservoir" individuals hold all their pain from the early childhood. Unconsciously, they carry and press their pain from the cradle deeper into themselves thus causing mental and emotional disorders.
The importance of infant massage before birth
The sense of touch is stimulated even before birth. In mother's belly, the infant is surrounded and caressed by warm fluid and tissues of womb. The mother recognizes impulses from her infant and understands how the infant should be nurtured, and caressed. This explains the fact that all parents caress the mother's belly and talk to the infant with a soft, low voice. After birth, the baby continues to seek for closeness, warmth, and touch comforting. At this early stage of development, touching and caressing are essential for her/his development into a healthy individual.
What’s the massage benefti for babies?
The massage benefit for babies is that touch, for infants, aids growth and development as the myelin sheath is increased, thus insulating and protecting nerve fibers, allowing them to function properly. In that way, babies gain weight, strengthen their immune function and they are relaxed as loving touch lessens tension, fussiness and irritability. In addition, infant touch enhances bonding with the parents as it conveys nurturing and love, i.e. the essential ingredients for emotional and physical growth and well being. Moreover, parents become more aware of baby's nonverbal cues.
Conclusively, by stimulating growth-promoting hormones and increasing the enzymes of the vital organs, touch makes the cells of the vital organs responsive to the growth-promoting effects of these hormones. Therefore, a loving touch and caress from the parent can significantly influence the emotional and mental development and stability of a baby, and over time, an individual.