Whenever I mention that I teach infant massage, people – especially parents -- invariably
perk up, with reactions ranging from curiosity to amusement, from skepticism to timid
hope – and, occasionally, an instant and profound comprehension. So, why should you massage your baby? So many reasons!
Touch is your baby’s first language, communicating love, security and warmth. An
ancient and revered tradition in many cultures, infant massage is rightfully enjoying a
resurgence of popularity today in the West. With easy-to-learn, flowing massage strokes,
busy modern-day moms and dads can take a break from cell phones and screens and
settle in with their babies for a 10-20 minute session of loving/healing touch, encouraging
greater bonding, attachment, and overall health.
Skin-to-skin stimulation releases feel-good, immune-boosting endorphins, oxytocin (the
“Cuddle Hormone”), and prolactin (the Nurturing Hormone”) -- all of which relax and
strengthen the nervous system while increasing feelings of love, happiness, bonding and
Over the past 20 years, many evidence-based studies have confirmed that nurturing touch
has a positive impact on baby’s physical, emotional and neurological development. And,
when children feel loved and respected, they grow up to be loving, respectful and secure
adults, helping to foster a healthier and more compassionate society.
Infant massage provides a host of physical and emotional benefits for both baby and
*Enhances bonding and loving communication between parents and baby
*May ease/relieve baby’s symptoms of gas and colic
*Strengthens and regulates baby’s digestive, respiratory, circulatory, nervous and
*Reduces stress, which allows deeper and longer sleep patterns for both infant and
*Empowers parents to better care for fussy, ill or special needs babies
*Massage strokes can easily be extended for toddlers and older children, and even
*It’s FUN, free and it feels great!
Thus, the real question is, “Why not massage your baby?” It’s a gift for a lifetime, and
only you can give it.
Kathryn Machi, CMT, MFA, is a certified infant massage instructor trainer with Infant
Massage WINC, the original international association for infant massage in the U.S.
Since 1995, Kathryn has taught parents the art and science of infant massage at CPMC,
Natural Resources, and privately. She also certifies pediatric health and touch
professionals to become parent instructors; past clients include Lucille Packard
Childrens Hospital, Highland Hospital, Asian Perinatal Advocates, and SF Doulas. Her
practice is based in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and teenaged son.
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