The massage we are sharing with you in the video workshop is all about soothing and comforting and nurturing.
Touch is a vital part of bonding. When babies are first born, parents are encouraged to hold their baby as soon as they can and, if possible, to do it against their naked skin (often referred to as skin-to-skin). This has a tremendous number of benefits but probably the most important being the bond it initiates between parents and their newborn.
When our babies are tiny, we touch and cuddle and hold them, usually for much of the day (and often the night too). Babies like to be held close - after all they have been compressed tightly in the womb - so being held is their most natural state.
The time we spend touching and holding our children decreases as they grow because they become increasingly independent. This is totally normal and natural. However, just because it decreases does not make it any less important or enjoyable when you do find the time to have a cuddle or hold hands or have a tickle-fest or similar. Children often want to be close to their parents when they need reassurance or comfort, or they have been apart for some time and will reach for physical contact.
Have you heard of oxytocin? Oxytocin is a hormone which is frequently referred to as the ‘hormone of love’. It is most associated with childbirth as it is the hormone that causes the womb to contract. However, it can play a major role in everyday life too. When it is produced it creates that ‘warm, fuzzy’ feeling. It makes you feel good, and secure and safe. These are all feelings that can enhance your well-being and your children’s. The best way to produce oxytocin tends to be through touch.
Baby massage has become an increasingly popular class for parents to do with their newborns as it promotes oxytocin and bonding and many other health benefits. But massage tends to dwindle as children grow when in fact they can gain just as much enjoyment from it (as can adults!). Why do we stop when they stop being babies?
So don’t stop. Keep going. And here’s our top 5 of why ….
1. Being gently massaged greatly aids relaxation. Children and adults can hold a great deal of tension in their bodies and this is a brilliant way of breaking it down.
2. Stress relief. It is sad but true that children are far more stressed than previous generations due to the sheer number of external pressures placed upon them. And parents occasionally experience stress themselves (!). Massage can ease this and promote calm.
3. Being present. Life is busy and distracting. It can be very hard to focus solely on each other. Massage provides you with that opportunity. Put your phone on silent (or even better turn it off or leave it in another room). Put on your playlist of gentle music (lovingly created by us!) and simply spend time with each other. There is no need to be silent, often the best chats happen when distractions are removed. Enjoy.
4. Bonding. I know this word has been banded about quite a bit in this blog but is it hugely important. Bonding with your baby when they are small is often talked about; but maintaining and nurturing that bond as they grow is just as vital. We really advocate letting your children massage you as well as you them (and siblings to each other). It makes them feel important and needed and it is a lovely thing to allow them to realise that they too play a role in a positive family life.
5. Massage is a great way of promoting sleep so if you do it close to bedtime it may help everyone settle and rest more effectively. Win win!
This certainly is not an exhaustive list, and I have not even mentioned how much FUN it can be and obviously it is a great way of getting cosy. It goes without saying that everyone needs to consent and be happy about it so always check with your children first and make sure they realise that they always need to ask you too.
We hope you get so much enjoyment out of this massage workshop and that you continue to use massage within your family week after week and it becomes part of your family life. You will certainly reap the benefits.