Touch: The First Language
Infant massage, also known as Touch Communication, is a powerful way to help one’s baby and further the bond between parent and child. Extensive research has shown that infant massage benefits every aspect of a baby’s growth, including:
Improved body awareness and coordination
Deeper bonding and attachment
Better regulated sleep patterns
Stronger sense of security and self image
This style of oil massage combines east Indian and Swedish traditions plus reflexology (foot massage). It has been standardized by the International Association of Infant Massage, where I have been certified. My acupressure background further enriches this approach with a Chinese medical perspective, as I teach parents helpful acupressure points activated during the massage.
I teach group classes and private lessons that parents and their babies attend together. Instruction in the massage strokes is woven around the nursing, diapering and sleeping of our little ones. Throughout, we work with an eye to reading their cues to better understand their needs and the feedback they provide us. Discussion on infant stimulation and development is the backdrop against which we massage, cuddle and care for the babies, yielding a rich class experience. Parents gain proven skills to assist their infants, while learning lifelong tools they can use throughout their child’s maturation.
Infant Massage classes run for 90 minutes. They are scheduled to accommodate the mid-to late- morning alert cycles of most babies, in order to engage babies who are awake and alert in the massage process. However, babies’ schedules are unpredictable and sometimes an infant is asleep or unready for the work. In such cases, the parent is given a doll on which to learn the massage strokes in class. Parents are given handouts at each lesson, to help them practice the massage strokes at home with their babies.
Learn Massage: Teach Respect
Massage instruction for families and children
Family massage instruction is an adaptation of the Peaceful Touch® program. Parents and children are taught to massage one another using games and stories as the vehicle for the massage. In these classes, parents massage only their own children or one another, while children massage their parents, siblings or peers. Family massage incorporates two basic rules:
- Ask permission before you touch someone else. If they refuse permission, you may not touch them.
- Ask where on the other person’s body you can touch; or, if you have a body part in mind, ask if you may touch them there. For instance, ask “May I give you a back massage?”
These clear boundaries teach people of all ages to use touch in ways that are respectful, safe and loving. Participants learn new ways of sharing affection between family members and of deepening their relationships. Best of all, its fun and good for you. A vast body of research on touch has proven that gentle, rhythmic touching confers the following benefits to both the person getting the massage and the person giving it:
Improved cardiac and respiratory functioning
Improved hormonal regulation
Improved self-confidence and self-image
Increases in compassionate behavior
Decrease in aggressive and violent behavior
Parents deserve every tool available to help them shape their children’s well-being and values. Massage instruction for families is such a tool. It is so valuable to society that it should be provided to all parents and children!
Susan offers classes to family groups. If you prefer, she will work with your family privately.