Massages have always been an essential part of the Indian medical system.
Today, it is an industry that is worth several billion dollars.
A look at the past
Massaging techniques were part of ancient civilizations – including the Indus Valley civilization, the Egyptian civilization, and so on.
Some historians believe that these methods were used even in the era preceding the Indus Valley civilization.
Massages have several health benefits. Ayurveda texts consider them to be an indispensable healing method.
In most cases, the entire body or parts of the body are massaged using ample amounts of warm oils.
In infants too, massages play a crucial role. Historians say that massages for infants were first introduced in China around 2nd Century BC.
How do oil massages benefit a baby?
Oil massages, in infants, are essential for the following:
- Weight gain
- Improved sleep patterns
- Improved motor skills
- Reducing infections caused due to certain microbes
- Strengthening the bond between the mother and her baby
The apt age for oil massages
One can't truly state when one should begin or stop giving the baby an oil massage. Hence, it is advised that you consult your baby’s pediatrician before doing so.
Types of oils used to massage the baby
Below is a list of the best massage oils for you baby recommend by experts:
Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is said to be the best for babies. It contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties which protect your baby from various skin infections.
Almond oil: Massaging your baby’s body with almond oil adds glow a glow to her skin.
Mustard Oil: Mustard oil is ideal for hair growth and prevents skin disease, and is often used in winters to keep the skin warm and hydrated.
Castor Oil: This oil is said to help strengthen the bones of a baby, and also used to tackle issues pertaining to dry skin.
According to the Kaumara Bhrtham, an Ayurvedic text on child care, the ideal time to bathe a baby is between 8 am and 9 am.
What is Nalpamaradhi Thailam?
Ayurveda doctors say, "While coconut oil is ideal for a head massage, a herbal oil called “Nalpamaradhi Thailam” could be used to massage your baby’s body."
This oil is prepared from the bark of four types of trees.
How do you prepare it?
- Mix about 15 grams of each tree bark with approximately 768 milliliters of sesame oil.
- Add three liters of a solution made from turmeric and fumaria.
- Heat the mixture
- Filter it. What remains is the Nalpamaradhi Thailam.
Experts say the baby must be massaged in the following way:
- Pour about two tablespoons of “Nalpamaradhi Thailam” on your palm.
- Apply the oil gently on your baby.
- Make sure that the oil is applied on every part of the baby’s body.
- Massage the baby from head to toe.
- Continue the procedure for 10 minutes.
Why must a mother massage her baby?
Many young mothers hire ‘help’ to massage and bathe their babies. While the practice does appear to be practical, it is often rejected by many medical professionals.
The reason is - most assistants are not trained to do so. As a result, they are likely to harm the baby.
Improper techniques can lead to muscular injuries.
The mother, on the other hand, would instinctively massage her baby with utmost care.
This exercise also strengthens the bond between mother and baby.
In short, do not miss this precious phase of your baby’s life. For, this bond will last forever!