Baby massage tips & benefits
Our experienced massage therapist Clare Hamblin is now running baby massages classes at the Mersea Road Clinic in Colchester. Clare trained and qualified with the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM). This is largest and longest standing baby massage organisation founded in the 1980’s.
What is baby massage?
Baby massage is traditional in many Indian and African cultures. It has gained increasing support and popularity in the UK since the 1990s due its many benefits for both parent and baby. These benefits include aiding digestion, easing wind and colic type symptoms, as well as helping your baby soothe, sleep and relax. It is also a wonderful way of bonding with your baby at any stage.
The techniques that you will learn draw from both the Indian and Swedish massage traditions as well as incorporating principles from yoga and reflexology.
You will be taught sequences of massage strokes, holds and movements to treat various areas of the body and conditions such as colic. Baby massage offers an enjoyable experience and a special time to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with your baby.
Baby massage for colic, digestion and wind.
You will learn a specific colic routine as part of your baby massage course. This will include soothing rhythmical strokes and holds for the abdomen following a sequence that has been developed over many years.
The term colic describes a group of symptoms that include severe crying often associated with abdominal pain and difficulty winding. It occurs frequently in infants yet the mechanisms behind why some infants suffer are not fully understood. However we do know that a baby’s digestive system takes time after birth to develop and that the function of the digestive tract is closely coupled with over stimulation of the nervous system. This is often why colic symptoms are worse towards the end of the day when baby is tired. We also know that colic can be very distressing for parent and baby and is more likely to occur following a traumatic labour or very quick birth.
Your baby’s digestive system is surrounded by soft tissues within the chest, abdomen and pelvis. By learning how to massage and move these areas, in a gentle rhythmical routine, you will be helping the motion of the bowel and calming the nervous system. As well as a reduction in crying, you may also see improvements in winding, reflux, constipation and sleep following baby massage classes.
Baby massage for sleep and relaxation
Much evidence exists supporting the benefits of a calming touch to increase physical and mental development of your baby. The physical and mental stimulation of the rhythmical system of massage techniques help soothe your baby, calming their body and mind. It has also been well researched that touch in the form of massage is also great for circulation, tissue health and relaxation.
Learning the baby massage routine will also allow you to relax, allowing easier communication between parent and baby and giving you the confidence of what to do when little one is fighting sleep at home.
How do our baby massage classes work?
In class only you will massage your baby. Clare, your instructor, will demonstrate various massage techniques on a doll. Each week will focus on a different area of the body including head, neck and tummy. Massage strokes and techniques will be reviewed each week before moving on to a different part of the body and Clare will also provide handouts as a reminder.
The areas of the body covered in the baby massage course over the 5 weeks are:
- Legs and feet
- Arms and hands
In your baby massage class you are always able to listen to your baby’s cues, if they are upset, need feeding or changing this is fine to do during the class.
Here at the Mersea Road Clinic the baby massage sessions are run for babies up to 6 months old, for 1 hour for the duration of 5 weeks in groups of up to 6. At the end of each baby massage session there will be time for an informal parent discussion, refreshments and the opportunity to raise any concerns with one of our Osteopaths at the practice.
Our next course starts on Monday 20th July 2015 and will run for the subsequent five weeks.
Please call reception at the Mersea Road Clinic for more details or to book your place.