The early years of a child’s life are without a doubt the most important in setting the foundation for growth and development. During the first year, infants develop skills they will use for the rest of their lives. This is where the infant learns the basis for motor, sensory, language and social skills.

A massage therapist can help promote healthy growth and development of 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 recent studies, massage therapy has been shown to decrease the chance for neonatal jaundice in full-term newborn infants.

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

The study monitored 42 infants where 20 received massage and 22 babies did not. Researchers noted that the massage treatments reduced stress, relieved pain and increased their stool frequency compared to the control group.

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

–Jeremy Maready