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|Massage your babies
May 29, 2008 - Agapios Papaioannou
Over the last few years, more and more Greek parents have been enrolling in classes on how to massage their infant babies in health centers and become familiar with benefits that they and their babies enjoy from it.
A research study on massage by Dr. Herminial L. Cifra and Dr. Melanie N. Sancho for the University of Philippines has revealed its positive effects on behavior, weight gain, arterial oxygen tension, pain reduction, stress hormones and immunoglobulin, asthma and labor.
“Massage improves circulation, respiration, digestion and enhances babies’ neurological development,” said Thalia Panagidou, a qualified infant massage teacher. “Moreover, it is recognized by doctors to be the only drug-free treatment for colic.”
Massage may also have emotional benefits, giving babies a sense of security because the close attachment to the mother during the pregnancy is continued and reinforced. Babies relax and sleep better. “Since I started giving my 5-month-old son massages he’s stopped waking up in the middle of the night,” said Maria Prokopiou, a mother of two.
Induction into the world of infant massage may have other benefits for mothers as well. “I was a little depressed after I gave birth to my daughter,” said Pavlina Makri. “The classes helped me relax, reduce stress and come closer to my baby.”
Parents can learn how to massage their babies in a series of six meetings which they attend with their babies. In the first hour, the massage techniques are taught; in the second hour, parents learn to interpret the body language of their infants. For example, parents learn to recognize why their baby is crying. Infant massage is an old technique that originated in Asia and came to the West at the beginning of the 1970s. The original Indian belief was that it can build strong and flexible muscles.