Massage Tips and Trivia: Massage can help premature infants gain weight
"Studies have shown that massage can help premature infants gain weight"
Massage and mainstream medical research are not always the best of friends. Medical research seeks to prove scientific facts, and massage is often regarded as too "holistic" so it isn't studied and researched as much as it could. However one area that is studied and who's results are recorded is the area of infant massage as it regards to premature infants. There are many studies that show that premature infants benefit greatly from massage as soon as they are born. Once upon a time, if babies were born early, they were basically "locked away" in a dark, warm incubator intended to replicate the conditions inside the uterus to allow them to "finish cooking" so to speak. Since then, through multiple events including increased research, more educated and vocal parents, and the acceptance of more "holistic" alternatives, infants are now touched, talked to, and exposed to more - controlled - stimulation, all of which helps them improve and prepare to go home sooner. Research has shown that infants born with low birth weight who are massaged regularly, gain 31-49% more weight than the infants that were not massaged. It doesn't just help increase weight, but improves bone density, muscle tone, digestion, helps them sleep better, and promotes more stable EKG readings. All things that can help premature infants gain the medical stability they need for their parents to take them home and start their happy, healthy lives.
A few references:
National Library of Medicine: PMC3956039
Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Volume 28, Issue 6