Infant massage has been shown to reduce infants’ pain, stimulate weight in preterm infants, and improve infants’ rest-activity cycle, among other results. In new research, investigators looked at the effect of meridian massage on physical growth and infants’ health as perceived by their mothers.
Meridian massage is a traditional practice that manually stimulates the body’s meridian system—the same network of vital energy channels used in acupuncture, according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov.
This study was conducted in a community health center in Korea. 169 healthy infant-mother dyads were assigned to meridian massage group or a gentle touch massage group, based on the mothers’ preference, the abstract noted.
All of the massages were conducted by the mothers for 15 minutes per session, one time daily over a course of six weeks, according to the abstract. In each group, the infant’s weight, height and number of days with illness as perceived by mothers and related clinic visits were measured.
Among the results:
• Significant differences were observed in weight and height after six weeks between the meridian group and gentle touch massage group, with the meridian group showing greater increases.
• Infants in the meridian massage group showed significantly different number of days with perceived clinic visits compared to those in the control group.
“Meridian massage may facilitate physical growth and improve infant’s health outcome as perceived by mothers,” the researchers noted. “A randomized controlled trial is required to further explore the effects of meridian massage in early infancy.”
The study ran in the journal Pediatrics International.