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  • Karen Stoner, LMT

How massage helps an infant's brain development


How massage can help an infant's brain development

As parents, we want to do everything we can to ensure our children get the best start in life. One way to help our little ones reach their full potential is by introducing massage into their daily routine. Massage is an excellent way to help an infant’s brain development, as it provides many benefits that can help both their physical and emotional wellbeing.


Firstly, massage helps to stimulate an infant’s senses, which can have a positive impact on their overall development. Research has shown that massage can help to strengthen the connections between the sensory and motor areas of the brain, which can help to improve their ability to learn. The human brain is set up so that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa. When babies are first born, their brains can not "understand" how to make both sides of the brain work together yet, so most of their movements are homolateral - one side moves at a time, and limbs rarely cross the midline plane. Massage and exercises that encourage both sides of the body to not only move, but cross over the midline (such as right hand to left shoulder) encourages both sides of the brain to develop synapses that bridge those two sides more quickly.


Just like in adults, massage can help to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and encourage better sleep. And yes, infants can get stressed. They can't communicate their needs very well beyond crying, and to a new parent who is still figuring out baby's cues, it can take a while to figure out what cry means what which frustrates both parent and baby. Helping baby stay calm and relaxed helps baby sleep better, which is an important time and opportunity for brain growth and development.

How massage can help an infant's brain development

Additionally, massage can help to strengthen the bond between parent and child, as it is a wonderful way to show affection and provide comfort. This is important for the development of the child’s brain, as feeling secure and loved helps them to feel safe and confident. This can help to improve their emotional development, and make it easier for them to form strong relationships with others.


Finally, massage can help to stimulate the infant’s circulation and digestive system, making sure all the "good stuff" is getting where it needs to go, and the "bad stuff" gets eliminated from the body. This can also have a positive impact on their brain development. Improved circulation can help to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain, while a healthy digestive system can help to ensure that they are receiving all the necessary vitamins and minerals they need.


How massage can help an infant's brain development

Overall, massage massage has great benefits for infants in many parts of their lives, and brain development is yet another benefit. It can help to stimulate their senses, promote relaxation, strengthen the bond between parent and child, and improve their circulation and digestive system. For these reasons, massage is an excellent way to ensure that our little ones get the best start in life.

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