Your child’s health: Infant massage

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AVON - Who wouldn't like a massage? Think how you feel afterwards. Now think of it for your baby. Massage is not just for adults. The benefits of healthy touch can go beyond bonding and relaxation.

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Ellie Weissinger is just six months old, but regularly gets a massage. It's something Katelyn Donaghue learned how to do when her daughter was two months old. "I knew it could be very calming for the child. And, I was just interested in it and I started researching it a little bit. And, it's relaxing for me and her," Ellie’s mom said.

Tennie Hall is a licensed massage therapist who teaches an infant massage class at the Exhale Spa at University Hospitals Health Center in Avon. "There is special consideration for infants ... We use stroking, light friction, and light kneading. You don't want to put any pressure on their joints," Hall said.

The ears, hands and feet are key reflex points. Infant massage can be more than just relaxing. Hall says it has shown some healing health benefits for some common ailments like colic, constipation, and general fussiness. Rubbing a baby’s tummy in a circular, clockwise motion is good for the digestive system. "I can show them how to clear a clogged tear duct through massage, or clear their sinuses if they have issues with their sinuses,” Hall said.

Infant massage can be done at any time of day. But, generally works best before the baby's nap or bed time. "I will usually do it right after bath time, when I put her lotion on. I give her a little infant massage. She really loves it. I think it is a really good bonding experience for us." Donaghue added

The infant massage class is for newborns to one year old. Moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers can take the class on an individual basis or in a group at the University Hospitals Health Center in Avon.

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