According to an article by Medical Daily, infant massage has great effects for premature babies. However, they reported that infant massage "can markedly reduce stress in male preemie babies, though the effect is not as great for females."
We learned that premature babies do not have enough time to develop in their mother's wombs, so they often have "immature nervous systems that cannot adjust to the most minor stressors."
However, the article reported that a new study in the journal Early Human Development found that infant massage promotes "the maturing of preemies' immature autonomic nervous systems (ANS), reducing the babies' stress and putting them at ease."
The article started that researches at the University of Utah tested the benefits of infant massage on 17 premature babies against a group of 20 babies that were not massaged.
The research found that the male babies massaged had an increased heart-rate variability, but no in the female babies.
In massaged male babies, Their heart rate variability increased every week they were massaged, "suggesting that infant massage promoted ANS maturation and presumably made them more resistant to stress. However, there was no effect on female babies who were massaged."
Researchers believe that hormonal factors could explain why there were no effects on female babies, however "current research offers no explanation."
Still, infant massage provides many benefits to babies. Are you interested in trying out a class and meeting other parents? Drop in to our weekly infant massage class! Learn the basics of Infant massage in a relaxed environment with other families. This class is best for pre-walking babies but all are welcome. Each week will focus on a different part of the body and review the importance of touch for children of all ages. All materials are provided and some handouts will be given out each week.