Research tells the Story
The positive effects of infant massage have been well researched in studies such as those sponsored by UNICEF and the University of Miami School of Medicine. Among the results of the major studies are:
- Children and infants who are massaged showed improved sleeping patterns, diminished anxious behavior and significantly reduces stress indicators such as heart rate and stress hormone levels.
- Premature babies who are regularly massaged gained weight faster, performed better on developmental tasks, acquired mental and motor skills earlier, and were more relaxed than non-massaged babies. Early touch also benefited the developing nervous systems of those infants.
- In India, where infant massage has passed down through generations, studies showed that babies massaged by their mothers developed both mentally and physically well beyond normal expectations given their malnourished condition.
- Institutionalized infants who received extra touch developed visual attentiveness earlier than babies who didn't. Visually impaired babies whose parents touched them early and often were able to reach toward sounds sooner than other babies.