Therapeutic touch – does it impact children and newborns?
Starting with a side note: “Therapy” is more on vogue these days than anything else. As much as I am delighted by the fact that the stigma around the topic is sleeved down (in a positive light, most times) it can be overbearing to understand how therapy can make an impact in our lives as adults unless we feel and experience it ourselves.
Besides the gush of awareness around mental health issues lately and the different terminologies used by the therapists one can sometimes feel that going into therapy is more like going into a Jumanji board game which comes with an age rating -only for 8 and above, which can lead to the misconception that therapy is not for new-borns and/or children. ( Maybe more on that some other time ;) )
Anyway, coming back to our today’s topic of interest and as promised in the previous blog, I jot down what therapeutic touch can mean to children and even newborns.
'Therapeutic touch is a healing method in which, using hands, warmth, energy, and love are transferred from a giver to the body of a receiver.'
This method guides the therapists on how to proceed to concentrate and focus attention, a crucial part of every healing process. Therapeutic touch has been a subject for many studies and scientific publications, as an alternative measure of reassurance and comfort.
Keep reading to know more…
Did you know?
Infant massage was first introduced in China in the 2nd century BC. Massaging the newborn has been a practice in India and other Asian countries -as an Asian, I can vouch for this fact. I remember my grandma giving my months old younger brother an oil massage. I remember her telling me it has been an age-long tradition.
Research conducted at the Touch Research Institute - an academic center created in 1992 by the University of Miami's School of Medicine - for basic research in the use of human touch as a therapeutic modality, has conducted studies that have shown that the babies who are massaged consistently gain weight faster, have experienced less chance of developing sleeping disorders and bradycardia (slow heart rate), have healthier muscle tone and decreased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone, which among other things, deters the immune system).
Skin-to-skin with baby after delivery
Placing your baby skin-to-skin on your body has been proven to be one of the most beneficial things a mother can do, (also fathers)! Numerous research studies have found the benefits of skin-to-skin with babies after delivery. Both baby and parents gain from it.
The baby cries less often
Ability to better absorb nutrients
Increase in blood oxygen levels
Body temperature better maintenance
Improved weight gain
Stable heartbeat and breathing
Improved brain development and function as well as parental attachment is seen as a long-term benefit.
More successful at breastfeeding immediately after birth
Stronger immune systems
Therapeutic touch is, therefore, a powerful humanizing strategy!