The following services in Infant Massage are available:

  • private infant massage classes for newborn to pre-crawling
  • group classes for moms, dads, caregivers, and even siblings

Infant massage helps:

  • relax, soothe and release stress
  • relieve gas and colic symptoms
  • deepen bonding
  • baby sleeps better
  • improve communication
  • stimulate growth and healthy development of baby's body, mind and spirit

How many times have we all been placed in the frustrating and helpless position of not knowing how to respond to a fussing baby? Our instincts and responses vary, often depending on circumstance, environment, the kind of day we have had, and even the way to which we may have been responded ourselves, as infants. Help has been around much longer than you may think.

As a Certified Infant Massage Instructor, I have had the opportunity to witness the marvelous effects that regular massage with one’s infant can produce. Besides helping to relieve stresses and relax both parent and baby, it enhances communication and understanding of each other’s non-verbal cues, increasing confidence in handling skills. It helps to strengthen and regulate the nervous, circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems - often lessening the symptoms of colic or gas. As well it raises the threshold for both positive and negative stimulation, promotes deeper sleep and teaches babies to release their own tension.

The International Association of Infant Massage was founded by Vimala Schnieder McClure, a woman with a vision in which the world community shares a tool with which to awaken our " listening heart". It gives us the means by which we can nurture and enhance the bond we share with our children, so that they may truly feel that we have heard their concerns and needs. This practice knows no boundaries, either physical, religious, racial , or economical, and it has the potential to address many of the ills with which our society is plagued today.

Are we not reading or hearing of an increasing number of situations involving inappropriate touch , and even violations of personal boundaries or assault? Many studies have now proven the significance of touch in producing not only healthy offspring, but healthy relationships as well. Cross cultural reports also indicate that societies which support the idea of a lot of holding, massaging, and carrying of their infants produce children who are less aggressive and violent, and more nurturing , independent and confident as adults.

Although our child -rearing practices have varied considerably throughout history, even the past few decades in North America have been influenced by a medical and psychological expertise that has often left parents even more confused than ever. What seems to have been taken away from us is acknowledgement of the fact that we know our own children best, that every parent/infant relationship is different, and there is no one "right" answer, only choices.

The practice of infant massage has existed for centuries, if not thousands of years in cultures ranging from the Inuit, to Scandinavian, South American and East Indian. In fact, it was while working in an orphanage in India, during the 70’s, that Vimala Schnieder McClure first discovered the tradition for herself, along with the importance of its role in increasing the survival rate of infants there.

Many of the parents who learn and practice the infant massage course are initially motivated by a "quick fix mentality" - or a desire to somehow learn how to control or regulate their babies behavior. However the Infant Massage Association emphasizes the need to see massage time as quality time - something we do the with baby, not to the baby. The focus is on learning to read baby’s body language , creating an atmosphere of trust and relaxation through unconditional listening, rather than worrying about technique and routine.

The course, as given by a certified member of the association, takes four or five classes, and creates a non-judgmental atmosphere in which parents are encouraged to trust their own instincts. Permission is always verbally and/or visually sought in order to convey a message of respect for baby’s personal boundaries, and thus begin to teach him or her from an early age to recognize appropriate or healthy touch. Relaxation techniques for both parent and child are taught, as well as a sequence of strokes for legs, abdomen, chest, arms, face, and back. This course approach is unique, in that it combines well researched elements of Indian and Swedish massage, reflexology, and yoga techniques. When given in a group setting, it also provides parents with a supportive social outlet, where any number of issues or topics may arise before and after massage time.

Massage is not just for healthy, thriving babies. Its impact on the development of infants who are premature, or have special needs, or even those with prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol has been extensively studied in university hospital settings, such as the Miami Touch Research Institute.

Neither does massage need to end in infancy. Although toddlers may show less interest in having it regularly, it can be adapted to the growing child and used as a tool to help him/her deal with the variety of stressful situations, both physical and mental, likely to be encountered throughout life. It can remain a time in which to share confidences, express fears and anxieties, as well as way to create quality time for the working parent. It can even help to encourage an older sibling to feel more included in the care of a new baby, thus developing their own nurturing and protective instincts, and reducing rivalry.

Remember, a child who has been lovingly introduced to the power of touch is more likely to one day offer you a foot rub!