All We Knead Is Love
April 16, 2015
Epiphany Infant Massage Soothes Little Ones and Moms
“Being touched and caressed, being massaged, is food for the infant. Food as necessary as minerals, vitamins, and proteins.”– Dr. Frederick Leboyer
Infant massage has been offered to little ones at Epiphany Center since 1992. True to the agency’s mission to meet clients’ changing needs, Executive Director Sister Estela Morales and Mindy Zlotnik of 4th Trimester initiated infant massage for the medically fragile, at-risk infants to promote sleep, eating, and attentive communication between the infant and the caregiver. Having their communication valued and validated helps infants grow in self-esteem and confidence in their ability to make their needs known.
“Massage improves our babies' sleep patterns, alleviates the discomforts of colic, gas, and indigestion and promotes the ability of both mom and infant to stay calm and focused. Our moms learn how to attune to the subtle body language cues of their babies,” says Sister Fran Kearney, who is a Certified Educator of Infant Massage. “Massage also promotes bonding and secure attachment as mom and child engage in reciprocal communication.”
Infant massage was introduced to the United States by Vimala McClure. While traveling through India in the 1970’s, Vimala worked in an orphanage and witnessed firsthand a 12-year-old girl who would massage all the children there. Even with the lack of proper nutrition, the children thrived, which she attributed to the massage they received. Upon returning to the states, Vimala developed a process and founded the International Association of Infant Massage.
There is evidence-based research that shows the importance of healthy touch in infant emotional and physical development. Through massage the infant has a way of communicating the stress from birth and other sensory experiences. It also gives the infant a greater sense of body awareness. It is a time when caregiver and child build their relationship of trust and understanding, and most importantly, communicates respect, healing, and love.