research

The Touch Research Institute

Competence & Confidence

The biggest endorsement for enhanced parental confidence through infant massage comes from Tiffany Field, Ph. D., founder and director of The Touch Research Institute, which has conducted more than 100 studies.

Since 1992, she has explored the benefits of many different forms of massage and encourages the practice of infant massage as a way to promote a sense of competence and confidence for parents.

  • “Forty preterm infants were assigned to treatment and control groups. The treatment infants averaged a 21% greater weight gain per day ,were discharged 5 days earlier, and performed better on the habituation cluster items of the Brazelton scale. Treatment infants were also more active during the stimulation sessions than during the nonstimulation observation sessions (particularly during the tactile segments of the sessions).”
  • “Compared to preterm infants who are not massaged, massaged infants gain 47% more weight, remain awake and active a greater percentage of the observation time, better performance on the Brazelton scale, and are hospitalized on average 6 days fewer than control infants. Similar effects pertain to preterm infants prenatally exposed to cocaine and HIV. Although, these infants also show reduced stress behaviors following the study period. Depressed mothers massaging their infants and grandparent volunteers as massage therapists also suggest that both the infant and person giving the massage can reap benefits, such as fewer anxiety and stress levels. These studies also suggested that infant’s drowsiness, quiet sleep, alertness, and tracking increased, while activity and fussiness decreased following the massage.”
  • “Infants and toddlers with sleep onset problems were given daily massages by their parents for 15 minutes prior to bedtime for one month. Based on parent diaries the massaged versus the control children (who were read bedtime stories) showed fewer sleep delay behaviors and had a shorter latency to sleep onset by the end of the study. Forty-five minute behavior observations by an independent observer also revealed more time awake, alert and active and more positive affect in the massaged children by the end of the study.”

Read more here about more The Touch Research infant massage studies conducted