Infant Massage

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This 8 CEU Infant Massage home study course is a great resource for all massage therapists. It reveals the many benefits of massage for babies and outlines basic infant massage using techniques you already know. It also outlines positioning for massaging babies of all ages. There is an emphasis on contraindications for infant massage as well. If you would like to learn about what this course contains, you can read the chapter descriptions below.

Infant Massage outline (8 CEUs):
  • Chapter One: History of Infant Massage

The massage of infants and babies is common in many ancient cultures, and is experiencing a resurgence in the West that saw most of its growth in the 1980’s.i Infant massage continues to grow in popularity throughout the United States, with the emphasis being on physical bonding/attachment with the parent.

  • Chapter Two: Benefits of Infant Massage

There are many benefits of infant massage and many studies have concluded that infant massage benefits the child later in life. For example, infant massage decreases the production of stress hormones like cortisol and norepinephrine, and increases serotonin. Repeated infant massage can create a conditioning pattern, so the baby begins to automatically relax upon being touched.

  • Chapter Three: Benefits of Massage for Infants with Health Issues

Infant massage has obvious benefits for both the baby and the parent, but it can also have specific benefits for babies who are born with certain health issues. Issues in the cardiovascular system, endocrine system, gastrointestinal system, nervous system and musculoskeletal system (among others) can all benefit from infant massage.

  • Chapter Four: Getting Ready

There are a few steps you will need to take to get ready to give an infant a massage. New babies are sensitive to a number of environmental factors, like temperature, noise, and light. Setting the stage will help the infant get the most out of the session.

  • Chapter Five: The Massage

Many parts of an infant’s body are subject to massage and particular care. Legs and feet, chest, arms and hands, face, and back all have special requirements and benefits for the infant during the massage. In this chapter, the specifics for each area of the body are explained.

  • Chapter Six: Naptime

Giving a naptime massage is a great way to soothe baby into sleep, but the strokes should be adjusted to be less stimulating than normal. For example, for massages before naptime, only use strokes that move downward, as strokes that move toward the heart can be too stimulating. In this chapter, massage sequences will also be introduced that help the infant go to sleep.

  • Chapter Seven: Gentle Movement

An excellent way to end the massage is with gentle movement, which are “simple exercises that gently stretch baby’s arms and legs, massage her stomach and pelvis, and align her spine.” If the baby is old enough to walk, these movements are unnecessary because she gets enough exercise doing that.

  • Chapter Eight: Massage Adjustments for Minor Illnesses/Colic

When a baby is ill, a massage can help alleviate symptoms like pain, fever (low grade), and labored breathing. This chapter explains how different illnesses require adjustments to the regular massage. For illnesses like fevers (high grade), massage is contraindicated, but for something like teething facial and neck massages can greatly benefit the infant.

  • Chapter Nine: Massage and Premature Babies

Massage has been shown to be especially beneficial to babies who are premature, or those who have to spend time in the NICU. One study showed that babies in the NICU who received still touch and/or infant massage showed less startle responses, decreased need for the ventilator, and fewer clenched fists. Preemies have been shown to fall asleep more quickly, sleep more soundly, have better sleep patterns, improved weight gain, and longer periods of alert activity.ii

  • Chapter Ten: Massage for Older Babies and Toddlers

Newborns and infants need lower levels of stimulation to avoid overstimulation. Older babies and toddlers are the opposite- they need lots of stimulation to ensure you keep their interest long enough to finish the massage (an older baby being one who is 6 to 12 months old).

  • Chapter Eleven: Contraindications to Infant Massage

Massage is not appropriate for all babies in all situations. It might seem like it is since you are able to massage even very premature babies in the NICU, but it’s not the case. In this chapter the contraindications to infant massage are explained, as well as some conditions that must be discussed with the baby’s doctor prior to massage.

  • Chapter Twelve: The Five-Minute Massage

The five-minute massage is a quick and easy sequence that can be worked into pockets of time when baby is alert and ready for massage work. Massage therapists can teach this sequence to parents, who can then continue the massage work at home between sessions.

  • Chapter Thirteen: Massage Adjustments for High Needs Babies

This course discusses the ways in which massage is beneficial for babies with high needs or special needs. A baby with Down syndrome or born into addiction to drugs, with HIV or with fetal alcohol syndrome would constitute high needs or special needs. Here we will outline a few adjustments you can make to maximize the benefits for babies in those situations.

  • Chapter Fourteen: Additional Techniques

Once the infant is able to handle the stimulation of a regular massage, you might want to add a few additional techniques to spice things up or just to stimulate her senses. These additional techniques come from areas like Indian Massage (based on Ayurveda), Tui Na Massage, and Shiatsu among others.




i Baby Chi, “Infant Massage,”


ii Mary Ady, An Infane Massage Guidebook, Author House, 2008


Continuing education units (CEUs) are provided via electronic download in PDF format. Review the course work at your own pace and then take the included test online. You can print your certificate immediately after passing each test! All coursework is NCBTMB approved (NCBTMB # 451897-12). NOTE: Each state has different requirements. Please be sure to check our state requirements page and contact your state to verify your requirements.