Although infant massage exists for centuries in many countries around the world, Vimala McClure was the first person who actually put together a professional program which is a combination of Indian and Swedish massage techniques, as well as principles of Yoga and Reflexology.
Indian and Swedish strokes balance one another perfectly; the first, moves towards the extremity for tension release, while the second stimulate the circulation of blood towards the heart. The program is carefully developed and refined through research with practical experience since its introduction in 1976. Finally, in 1992 the IAIM became an international established organization with a clear purpose, to promote a nurturing touch.
We might enter and leave this world with one breath, but touch is the first sense we develop in utero and the last sense before we leave this world. Research indicates that our sense of touch develops in the time frame between 6-9 weeks of gestation.
Our skin is the largest organ of the human body, provides loads of information, and is the primary connection to the external and internal world. It is well known that human beings cannot survive without touch! Yes, it is vital to infant’s survival, healthy development and finally, through nurturing touch in which babies can thrive. Every individual has a different relationship to touch. It is influenced by many factors such as culture, experiences, education, and types of touch in infancy etc. Parent’s capacity to touch their babies may also be influenced by their own experiences of touch.
Babies, those vulnerable but powerful human beings, deserve respect, tenderness, warmth and of course an open-listening heart. My role as a Certified Infant Massage Instructor is to facilitate and help enhance the loving relationship between infants and parents by providing a peaceful, safe, loving, and healthy environment so parents and infants can relax, find their sync and bond in a deep level.
To me, the Art of teaching infant massage is a gratifying and deeply meaningful experience. I support parents to develop awareness of their baby’s needs, reflexes, cues, and behavioral states, as well as to embrace the benefits of the infant massage for the baby itself, the parents, the whole family and finally, the whole world. As a certified instructor, I encourage parents to continue massaging their baby for many years, as a toddler, in childhood, and in teenage years, by giving ideas on how to adapt the massage to the needs of the growing child.
Some of the benefits that Infant massage provides is nurturing touch and communication in which may help promote secure attachment, trust, empathy, and development of self-esteem.
Through strokes, all major systems, circulatory, digestive, hormonal, immune, lymphatic, respiratory, nerves are then stimulated. Skin receptors trigger the release of neurotransmitters and oxytocin which affect brain and muscular development. Babies can be relieved from pains such as gas or colic, gastrointestinal cramps, can also reduce discomfort such as growing pains, muscular, physical, and emotional tensions, teething process or sensitivity to touch.
Additionally, infant massage may reduce levels of stress hormones (such as adrenalin and cortisol), increase levels of calming hormones (such as oxytocin), reduce crying, improve sleep patterns and more…
The teaching process of infant massage is suitable for babies since day one, until 12 months, and in special needs, babies until their childhood age of 7. The program also provides a 5-step dialogue for premature born babies. As a certified instructor, I demonstrate the strokes and gentle moves on a professional doll so parents can follow at their own pace.