Hands on babies
recognise four main categories
of benefits for the baby resulting from massage:
- Promotion of bonding and secure attachment. Bonding and attachment are of crucial
importance to human beings and form the beginning of a relationship that will
endure through time. In humans, bonding is a process rather than an event and
is forged through reciprocal interaction between two people. Baby massage
fundamentally supports this process by providing parents with a wonderful
opportunity to bond with their babies through loving touch, special one-to-one
time, eye contact and affection
- Verbal and non verbal communication. At hands on
babies we believe that your baby is an individual with his own
needs likes and dislikes. In our sessions you will be given hints and tips to
help you identify and better understand your baby’s communication ‘cues’. As
well as enabling you to better understand and communicate with your baby, our
sessions will also positively stimulate all of your babies physical and
neurological systems including those associated with pre-language
communication, speech and learning ability.
- Demonstrating love – during hands
on babies sessions parents rhythmically stroke their babies,
forging the bonds of trust that are so important to their future development.
Skin to skin contact causes the release of hormones that create loving, caring
and empathetic behaviour.
Hands on babies baby massage stimulates many of your
baby’s major internal systems and may aid his neurological and physical
The internal systems that baby massage not only stimulates but may also aid
The circulatory system is an organ
system that moves nutrients, gases, and wastes to and from cells, helps fight
diseases and helps stabilize body temperature and pH to maintain a stable and
Digestion is the breaking down of
chemicals in the body, into a form that can be absorbed. It is also the process
by which the body breaks own chemicals into smaller components that can be
absorbed by the blood stream.
Hormones are chemicals released by
cells that affect cells in other parts of the body. Only a small amount of
hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. It is also a chemical messenger
that transports a signal from one cell to another.
An immune system is a collection of
mechanisms that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens
and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic
worms, and needs to distinguish them from healthy cells and tissues in order to
The lymphatic system has three
interrelated functions. It is responsible for the removal of interstitial fluid
from tissues. It absorbs and transports fatty acids and fats to the circulatory
system. The last function of the lymphatic system is the transport of antigen
presenting cells, to the lymph nodes where an immune response is stimulated.
The nervous system is a network of
specialized cells that communicate information about a human's surroundings and
itself. It processes this information and causes reactions in other parts of
A respiratory system functions to allow
gas exchange.This includes airways, lungs, and the respiratory muscles.
The vestibular system, which
contributes to our balance and our sense of spatial orientation, is the sensory
system that provides the dominant input about movement and balance
Regular massage can also stimulate muscle development and tone and improve
your babies mind and body awareness. Many babies who are massaged demonstrate
better than average language and physical ability.
Baby massage can help with many common baby ailments that can cause great
anxiety for both parents and babies. Research has shown that baby massage can
alleviate many of the symptoms and pain associated with:
- Gas and colic
Infant colic (also known as baby colic,
three month colic, and infantile colic) is a condition in which an otherwise
healthy baby cries or screams frequently and for extended periods without any
discernible reason. The condition typically appears within the first two weeks
of life and almost invariably disappears, often very suddenly, before the baby
is three to four months old. It is more common in bottle-fed babies, but also
occurs in breast-fed infants. The crying frequently occurs during a specific
period of the day, often in the early evening.
- Constipation and elimination
Constipation, is a condition of the
digestive system in which a person experiences hard faeces that are difficult
to expel. This usually happens because the colon absorbs too much water from
the food. If the food moves through the gastro-intestinal tract too slowly, the
colon may absorb too much water, resulting in faeces that are dry and hard.
Defecation may be extremely painful, and in severe cases lead to symptoms of
- Gastrointestinal cramps
Cramping of the digestive system can be
aided and sometimes relieved simply by regular massage of the affected area.
- Growing pains
Growing pains are pain symptoms
relatively common in children. Typically, they are located in the muscles,
rather than the joints, of the leg and less commonly the arm. They are usually
felt on both sides, and appear late in the day or at night, waking the child,
with pain varying from mild to very severe. Pain is absent by the morning, and
there are no objective clinical signs of inflammation. Pain can recur nightly
or be absent for days to months. Growing pain is not associated with other
serious disease and usually resolves by late childhood, but frequent episodes
are capable of having a substantial effect on the life of the child.
- Muscular tension
This can be a tightness of muscle tone
a reduced ability of a muscle to stretch (i.e. an increased stiffness.
- Teething discomfort
Teething is the process by which an
infant's teeth sequentially appear by breaking through the gums. Teething may
start as early as three months or as late, in some cases, as twelve months.
Occasionally a baby may even have one or more teeth at birth. The typical time
frame for new teeth to appear is somewhere between six and nine months.
- Excess mucus and nasal congestion
Nasal congestion is the blockage of the
nasal passages usually due to membranes lining the nose becoming swollen from
inflamed blood vessels. The newborn infant can only breathe through the nose
and nasal congestion in an infant in the first few months of life can interfere
with breastfeeding and cause life-threatening respiratory distress. Nasal
congestion can interfere with the ears, hearing, and speech development.
- Sensitivity to touch
- Physical and psychological tension
A form of stress, tension refers to the
consequences of the failure of a human to respond appropriately to emotional or
physical threats. It includes a state of alarm and adrenaline production,
short-term resistance as a coping mechanism, and exhaustion.
Baby massage has been shown to help babies and parent relax and become less
stressed. Many parents believe baby massage has helped their baby attain the
- Improved sleep patterns
Children need a greater amount of sleep
per day than adults to develop and function properly: up to 18 hours for
newborn babies, with a declining rate as a child ages.
Average amount of sleep per day needed
Newborn = up to 18 hours
1–12 months = 14–18 hours
1–3 years = 12–15 hours
3–5 years = 11–13 hours
5–12 years = 9–11 hours
Adolescents = 9–10 hours
Adults, including elderly = 7–8(+)
Pregnant women = 8(+) hours
- Regulation of behavioural states
When relaxed, humans have a better
ability to control themselves and their behaviour.
- Being calm and the ability to self calm
- Reduction of stress levels and stress hormones
- Increased levels of relaxing or anti-stress hormones
- Less hypersensitivity
Hypersensitivity refers to undesirable
(damaging, discomfort-producing and sometimes fatal) reactions produced by the
normal immune system.
- Less hyperactivity
Hyperactivity can be described as a
physical state in which a person is abnormally and easily excitable or
exuberant. Strong emotional reactions, impulsive behavior, and sometimes a
short span of attention are also typical for a hyperactive person. Baby massage
relaxes and increases the periods of