Little Green Angels
Benefits of Baby MassageThere have been many studies on the positive effects of massage therapy in different age groups. Amongst the most notable research findings are improved growth (e.g. in premature infants), diminished pain (e.g. fibromyalgia), decreased autoimmune problems (e.g., increased pulmonary function in asthma and decreased glucose levels in diabetes), enhanced immune function (e.g., increased natural killer cells in HIV and cancer), and enhanced alertness and performance. Many of these effects appear to be brought about by decreased stress hormones.
In asthma, a study showed the positive effects of parents massaging their asthmatic children including increased peak air flow, improved lung functions, less anxiety and reduced stress hormone (cortisol) in the children as well as a decrease in the anxiety of the parents carrying out the massage.
Children with Dermatitis who were massaged saw their anxiety and activity levels improved as did all measures of skin condition including less redness, lichenification, excoriation, and pruritis. In addition, the parents' anxiety levels also decreased.
Infants with Down syndrome improved in muscle tone and in performance on motor tasks following massage therapy. Fathers who, for one month, gave their infants daily massages 15 minutes before putting their children to bed, showed better interaction behavior with their infants. The Use of massage oils on Infants showed fewer stress behaviours (e.g. grimacing and clenched fists) and lower cortisol levels (stress hormones) after massage than when massaging without oil.