Infant massage has been used for centuries, most predominantly in African and Asian countries.
More recently, the Western world has become interested in the scientifically proven benefits of massage to both baby and parent..
The History of Infant Massage
In countries such as Nigeria, India, Bali and Fiji - and among the Maori in New Zealand - infant massage is considered a routine part of childcare, from the moment of birth until the baby is several months old.
In 1993, the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine studied mothers in Calcutta (now Kolkata) performing traditional Indian massage on their newborn babies. They noted that the daily massage was quite vigorous and that afterwards, once swaddled, the babies slept soundly.
In other countries, baby massage was performed daily after the chid's evening bath and the results were the same - content, sleeping infants.
However, despite these cultures having practiced infant massage for centuries, this ancient art has only recently reached Western shores.
In the late 1980s, Vimala Schneider McClure, founder of the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) popularized baby massage in the US with the publication of a book based on the Indian massage techniques she had observed on her travels. Today, IAIM has over 30 representatives around the world.