The foundation for the growth and development in a child’s life begins immediately after birth. In the first year, certain skill sets begin to develop that will serve the child throughout his or her entire life.It is during this time when the child learns the basis for motor, sensory, language and social skills.

A massage therapist can help promote a healthy growth and development in infants, which can be learned through home-study courses you can take in your home or office.

Infant massage promotes circulation, strengthens immunity, enhances neurological development and stimulates digestion, providing relief of gas and colic.

An Internet search revealed numerous home-study courses that are available for any massage therapist to take. Some of those infant massage therapy courses include understanding the benefits, contraindications and research supporting touch therapies with infants; the modification of Swedish, deep tissue and other touch modalities for infants; methodology of strokes; altering techniques for circumstances, such as colic, constipation and teething; effective movement and massage routines for infants; and learning touch to address infants’ physical and emotional needs.

According to a recent study, infant massage therapy was shown to improve the perceived temperament of the children and also decrease depression in teen mothers trained in massaging their child.

The study, “Outcomes of a Massage Intervention on Teen Mothers: A Pilot Study,” involved 25 teen mothers, who averaged about 16 years old. During the study, the mothers were taught certain massage strokes and had enhanced physical contact with their children. The mothers were instructed to massage their infants daily during a two-month period.

“The results suggest that the massage intervention had a positive impact on mothers’ current level of comfort with physical contact, maternal depression and maternal perceptions of a more adaptive child,” the researchers noted.

Make sure to check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.