Incorporating a variety of different massage principles, the aim of baby massage is of course the same, and as multi-faceted as it is with adults, but with added emotional benefits for both parent and child. Studies have even shown that baby massage can have a positive effect on Post Natal Depression.
What is it?
Typically, baby massage incorporates gentle, rhythmic stroking movements across the baby’s skin, and often focusing on areas such as their hands. Aromatherapist, Beverley Higham, who runs classes where parents can learn baby massage safely, advocates the practice, highlighting that not only is it good for the baby’s health and development, but also has a significant emotional impact on the bond between parent and child. She says: “As human beings, we thrive on touch, it’s an extremely important part of our wellbeing. Baby massage has great benefits for both parent and child in the short and long term, and is a wonderful form of communication between the two, even before verbal communication is possible.”
What oils do you use?
Everything about baby massage is extremely gentle, and that is particularly important when it comes to the oils, which can run the risk of being overpowering. Base oils should constitute a high quality, non-fragranced vegetable oil such as organic olive oil, as this suits most skin types, especially newborns, according to Higham. She also says that at six weeks it’s best to use the olive oil on its own and introduce essential oils in very low doses as the baby gets older. Chamomile is a favoured essential oil, as well as lavender, but make sure they are of the highest quality. To start off with, vaporise one drop of oil in warm water in the room, as this will allow the baby to get used to the aroma. Then as the baby gets older, one drop can be added to the olive oil (wait until he/she is eight or nine weeks old before using essential oils and then use one drop in a carrier oil, and halve it, so in essence it is only half a drop). For a baby with eczema, a small amount of Calendula oil added to the olive oil is very soothing.
So what are the benefits of baby massage?
For your baby
Feelings of security
Beneficial to growth and development
Soothes wind, colic and teething discomfort
Aids sleep and relaxation
Feeling closer to your baby
Gaining a deeper understanding of your baby’s behaviour and body language
Increased confidence in looking after your baby
Where to go for baby massage?
Before doing baby massage, it is best to learn techniques from a trained practitioner at a class, or to do it under the guidance of a therapist in a treatment for mother and baby. It is a specialised thing for a spa to offer baby massage, but it is something that you can combine with a spa day or break of your own to really set the scene. In particular, Hotel Ermitage at the Evian Resort offers baby massage where you can learn and relax together.
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