Massage for infants used to be viewed with some skepticism but these days - well, everyone's doing it! And with good reason. Or, rather, reasons. Firstly, it's a soothing way to bond with your baby (and very pleasurable for you too). Secondly, it can improve general health and tone up the body, skin and hair. Thirdly, it's a way of administering herbal remedies to small babies in the gentlest, least invasive way possible.
The NCT states: "Massage is a lovely way to soothe, calm and enjoy time with your baby. It can also help you bond with them. Long before babies are able to speak, they communicate with the world around them through touch. The power of touch to soothe and heal is instinctive. If a baby cries, for example, we often cuddle them or stroke their back. Massaging your baby is an extension of this natural impulse." The premature baby charity BLISS agrees: “Baby massage holds a number of benefits, both emotional and physical for premature babies.”
Renowned herbalist Anne McIntyre, says in her book Herbal Treatment of Children (publ. Elsevier 2005), here with particular emphasis on Ayurvedic principles: "Massage of the body with sesame oil for 15 minutes every day improves the complexion of the skin and condition of the hair, tone muscles and blood vessels and exerts a soothing action on the skin and nervous system."
She goes on to say "Babies can be massaged with herbal oils. Any sore or dry areas can be rubbed with lavender oil in a base of sesame or almond oil as an alterantive to chemical-based creams. As well as having antibacterial and antiseptic actions lavender has an anti-inflammatory action and stimulates tissue repair."
Little Herbs makes two preparations that can be used for massage, general health and therapeutically. Each is 100% organic, so it doesn't carry any inadvertent chemical input that may be present in oils produced with fertilisers, growth hormones and other agri-additives.
is a very simple blend of organic oils, majoring on sunflower seed oil, found by medical research reported in The Lancet, to be highly beneficial to infants' skin, particularly for premature babies, providing natural protection. It contains no essential oils at all.
is a blend of sweet almond and apricot kernel oils, stiffened with a touch of beeswax to help keep it in place, and adorned with that children's favourite, lavender.
Try either, or both. Above all, try massage on tiny babies, older babies, toddlers and even older children. It's a wonderful way to maintain closeness for all concerned.