What the research says about Baby Massage:
Improved Sleep Patterns
Argal KN, Gupta A, Pushkarna R, Bhargava SK, Faridi MMA, Prabhu MK, Effects of massage & use of oil on growth, blood flow & sleep pattern in infants. India J Med Res. 2000:112;212-217.
Infants experience improved sleep immediately after being massaged.
Ferber SG, Laudon M, Kuint J, Weller A, Zisapel N. Massage therapy and sleep-wake rhythms in the neonate. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 2002;23(6):410-415.
Infants who were massaged before bedtime adjusted to a more favorable rest-activity cycle by the age of 8 weeks and produced more melatonin, a sleep regulator, during the night by the age of 12 weeks.
HELP FOR DEPRESSED BABIES AND MOTHERS
Onozawa k, Glover V, Adams D, Modi N, Kumar RC. Infant massage improves mother-Infant interaction for mothers with postnatal depression
Learning the practice of infant massage by mothers may be an effective treatment for facilitating mother-infant interaction in mothers with postnatal depression. Edinburgh Postnatal Depression scores improved for the mothers who learned massage, as did their video-taped mother-baby interactions.
Field, T., Grizzle, N., Scafidi, F. Abrams, S., Richardson, S., Kuhn, C., & Schanberg, S. (1996). Massage therapy for infants of depressed mothers. Infant Behavior and Development, 19, 107-112.
Infants of depressed mothers who experienced massage therapy (compared to infants who were rocked) spent more time in active alert and active awake states, cried less, and had lower salivary cortisol levels, suggesting lower stress. The massage-therapy infants gained more weight, showed greater improvement on emotionality, sociability, and soothability temperament dimensions, and had greater decrease in urinary stress catecholamines/hormones (norepinephrine, epinephrine, and cortisol).
Field, T., & Hernandez-Reif, M., (2001). Sleep problems in infants decrease following massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 168, 95-104
Infants and toddlers with sleep onset problems were given daily massages by their parents for 15 minutes prior to bedtime for one month. The massaged babies showed fewer sleep delay behaviors and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study. During the day, babies were more awake, alert and active.
IMPROVED INTERACTIONS IN FAMILIES
Cullen, C., Field, T., Escalona, A. & Hartshorn, K. (2000). Father-infant interactions are enhanced by massage therapy. Early Child Development and Care, 164, 41-47.
Fathers who used massage techniques with their infants experienced increased self-esteem as a parents. The babies greeted their fathers with more eye contact, smiling, vocalizing and reaching responses. The fathers were more expressive and showed more enjoyment and more warmth during floor-play interactions with their infants.
The following drawing is mom's artwork of how she felt before taking a 5 weeks baby massage training compared to how she felt at the last day of class...
Increased weight gain for premature infants:
Field, T., Schanberg, S. M., Scafidi, F., Bauer, C. R., Vega Lahr, N., Garcia, R., Nystrom, J., & Kuhn, C. M. (1986). Tactile/kinesthetic stimulation effects on preterm neonates. Pediatrics, 77, 654 658.
The stimulated neonates averaged a 47% weight gain, were more active and alert during sleep/ wake behavior observations, and showed more habituation, orientation, motor and range of state behavior. Their hospital stay was also 6 days shorter, saving the hospital approximately $3,000 per infant.