Staff from NHS Western Isles, Action for Children and the local authority’s Early Years Service were all recently trained to deliver Infant Massage, a technique which can provide benefits for parents and babies.
This therapy is practiced globally, and has been increasingly used as a treatment for infants, which can result in benefits for babies, such as improved sleep patterns and pain relief from colic, constipation and digestive cramps.
A total of 14 staff in the Western Isles, including Public Health Nurses and Health Promotion staff, have been trained to deliver classes to parents, to teach the skills of Infant Massage. The course was delivered this month (June) by Ewa Westman from the International Association of Infant Massage.
NHS Western Isles Senior Health Promotion Officer Kenna Macinnes said: “Research has shown that Infant Massage plays an important role in helping with bonding and attachment between the parent and baby and there can be numerous benefits for both parents and babies. In addition to the direct benefits for parents, such as a decrease of stress hormones, and decrease in post natal depression for mums, infant massage classes promote ‘parenting’ together, as they enable parents to share good ideas with each other.
“For babies, infant massage can help promote relaxation, can help with language development and improve sleep patterns. We look forward to sharing these skills with local parents. Details of training will be made available in due course.”
Infant massage involves parents using a high quality, non-fragranced, cold pressed vegetable oil on their babies, using rhythmic strokes which are taught to parents by the instructor. The classes take the parents through a series of strokes for different body parts of their babies. The classes also discuss the ideal settings for infant massage to take place, and the ideal behaviour state for their babies, which helps the parent and baby to enjoy the benefits of the massage. Most importantly, parents are taught these skills so that they can go home and try the skills for themselves in their own environment. For further information please contact contact Isabel Steele, Senior Health Promotion Officer, tel. 01870 603156.