Massage coupled with kinesthetic stimulation improved weight gain among preterm infants with a birth weight greater than 1,000 grams, according to recent research.

The study, “Massage with kinesthetic stimulation improves weight gain in preterm infants,” involved 60 premature infants with birth weights of less than 1,500 grams, a gestational age of less than or equal to 32 weeks, a current age greater than 7 days, a current weight of more than 1,000 grams and relative medical stability.

MASSAGE Magazine also reported that acupressure and meridian massage applied three times per day for 10 days resulted in significant weight gain among premature infants; and that stable preterm infants gained more weight and slept less after five days of massage therapy than infants who did not receive massage.

The effects of massage therapy for premature infants have been studied several times since seminal research in 1988 by Tiffany Field at the Touch Research Institutes showed that preterm infants who received tactile stimulation showed greater weight gain than did untouched infants.

A full Research Report on the new massage-and-kinesthetic-stimulation study will run in the April print edition of MASSAGE Magazine.