So what does baby massage have to offer that a hug and gentle caress don't already? A recent BBC article draws attention to the power of the tummy-rub. The article spoke about how baby massage, a practice ingrained in many South Asian traditions, can yield some surprising benefits.
Many families and cultures have long known about these benefits and the scientific evidence is now catching up. And the conclusions may surprise you.
The stat that may piqué your interest is that daily baby massage was found to reduce the risk of infection by 40% and resulted in a 25-50% reduction in the risk of mortality amongst preterm babies.
It is easy to forget that the skin is our biggest organ and caring for it is vital to maintain our wider physical wellbeing. Through separate trials, research found that regular massages helped build the baby’s microbiome – the layer of bacteria that resides on the skin and in the gut. This microbiome layer plays an important role in enhancing immunity, acting as a barrier that can keep infections out.
"Malnourished babies who were massaged with oils developed a microbiome that was far more diverse," says Darmstadt. "[The oils] improved the skin barrier function, making it harder for bacteria to penetrate through the skin, get into the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections."
This evidence looked specifically at massaging preterm babes, but it is relevant for all little ones (and us bigger ones too!) Further studies found that baby massage can help babies gain weight, reduce pain and stress and very importantly help with sleep.
However, the right massage technique is vital, as is the type of oil(s) you use. How do you get a balance between being gentle enough but providing enough pressure to not just tickle your baby?
This can often deter parents from trying baby massage all together. But we want to encourage you that with the right information, and tutorage, you and your babe can experience the same benefits that thousands of others have before.
This is where our video tutorials come in. Jo, our baby massage ambassador, invites you to try some simple massaging steps to give you the confidence to start massaging regularly and see some of the many benefits mentioned about. Jo walks you through how to massage safely and incorporate essential oils into this process to get maximum therapeutic benefits for your little one.
Check out future tutorials as they arrive by subscribing to our mailing list and following us @neu_oil. Here is Jo taking us through a lovely leg massage using our 100% natural baby oil with organic lavender!