Research has shown that infant massage benefits babies in a variety of ways, from reducing stress behaviors to relieving pain, and much more. New research shows massage therapy lessens neonatal jaundice in full-term newborn infants.

Jaundice refers to a yellow color in the skin, mucus membranes, or eyes, according to the National Institutes of Health, and that yellow pigment results from bilirubin, a byproduct of old red blood cells.

For this controlled clinical trial, 20 babies received massage and 22 babies did not. Among the results, according to an abstract on

• The mean stool frequency of the massaged infants on day one and day two was significantly higher than that of the control group

• The transcutaneous bilirubin levels on the second to fifth day and serum total bilirubin levels on the fourth day were significantly decreased in the massage group, compared to the control group

“[B] aby massage at an early stage after birth could reduce neonatal bilirubin levels,” the researchers noted. “We suggest baby massage is beneficial for ameliorating neonatal jaundice.”

“Baby massage ameliorates neonatal jaundice in full-term newborn infants” was conducted by researchers at the Division of Information Science and Biostatistics, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, in Japan. The research ran in The Tohuku Journal of Experimental Medicine.

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