Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What the research says about Infant Massage and what it means

By Dr. Mary Kay Keller 
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I completed a Critical Review on Infant Massage Studies for my Preliminary Exams for a PhD program on Family and Child Studies. My major is Family Relations. Yes, I passed the Preliminary Exam on the first try.

Here are the results of this Critical Review which is near and dear to my heart! All Families need to learn or have the opportunity to learn to massage their baby. It isn't just about the baby. It is about the interaction between the baby and it's caregivers. The entire family benefits!

Parents, caregiver, and professionals provided infant massage.
Search criteria resulted in the selection of thirty-one articles for a critical review. Twenty-seven of the identified peer reviewed articles research designs were randomized controlled studies and four were quasi-experimental designs. Twenty-seven articles were experimental within subject repeated measures designs with at least one experimental group and a control group. Assignments of subjects were randomized and measurements were at a minimum of a pre and post-test. Four of the articles were quasi-experimental research designs without random assignment; however, included a minimum of one experimental group and one control or comparison group.

The research reviewed on the benefits of massaging of infants originated cross culturally on populations from fourteen different countries Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, Finland, India, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States.

Benefits for father and mothers and caregivers who participated in infant massage studies included decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression, increased infant care giving activities, increased interaction between the parent and caregiver and their infant, increased self efficacy, and elderly volunteers who massaged infants reported improvements in their lifestyles (indicating a bi-directional benefit).

Parent/Caregiver Outcomes
Decreased symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression
Increased care giving activities
Increased interaction

Feij’o et al., 2006; Field et al., 1998; Fujita et al., 2006; O’Higgins, 2008
Cullen et al., 2000; Scholz and Samuels, 1992
Glover et al., 2002; Onozawa, 2001

Parent/Caregiver Outcomes
Improvements in Lifestyles
Increased Self Efficacy

Field et al., 1998
Teti et al., 2009
Research focused on measuring the benefits of providing massage to infants on their physical growth, crying and colic symptoms, length of hospital stay, diarrhea, interaction behaviors, physical growth and sleep time.

Infant Outcomes
Decrease in crying/colic

Decrease in length of hospital stay

Increase in Physical Growth

Decrease in Diarrhea

Increased Sleep Time

Arikan et al., 2007; Elliot et al., 2002; Huhtala et al., 2000; Ohgi, 2004

Massaro et al., 2009; Mendes and Procianoy, 2008

Arora et al, 2005; Diego et al., 2007; Field et al., 1998; Field et al., 1996; Ferber et al., 2002; Ferber et al., 2002; Gitu et al., 2002; Glover et al., 2002; Gonzales et al., 2009; Kelmanson and Adulas, 2005; Kim et al., 2003; Jump et al., 2006; Massaro et al., 2009; Mathai et al., 2003; Mendes & Procianoy, 2008; Sankaranarayanan et al, 2005; Scafidi and Field, 1995

Jump et al., 2006

Kelmanson and Adulas, 2005; Mendes and Procianoy, 2008

Infant Outcomes
Increased Interaction (Engagement & Entrainment Behaviors)

Cullen et al., 2000; Elliot et al., 2002; Ferber et al., 2005; Field et al., 1998; Glover et al., 2002; Onozawa, 2001; O’Higgins, 2008; Pelaez-Nogueras, 1996; Scholz and Samuels, 1992; Teti et al.,2009
Keller, M.K. (2010) Infant massage benefits for infants and parents/caregivers: A critical review

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