With an avid lifelong interest in early childhood education, I have often pondered the following questions about supporting the optimal development of children: What does it mean for families and communities to support the ideal development of the child? How can parents and caretakers of precious newborns be skilled with tools to help navigate the gigantic transition into parenthood? Is there a non-invasive way for parents to deeply bond and accommodate for separation anxiety when they are apart, such as when working many hours away from their infant?
As a practitioner at Four Seasons Harmony, a Massage Therapy, Ayurveda, and Healing Arts private practice in downtown Harrisonburg that specializes in women’s and children’s health, I was blown away years ago in massage school to learn about the tremendous positive impact that giving infant massage can have for babies, families, communities, and the globe. Infant massage is one meaningful way to address all of the previous questions with care, love, thoughtfulness, and skill. The overwhelming evidence-based research of how powerfully supportive this gentle, safe, and effective healing art is for families inspired me to bring this specialized form of massage therapy to the Shenandoah Valley. In 2016, I hosted an in-depth Infant Massage training in Harrisonburg where Four Seasons Harmony is located at the Ice House Studios on Liberty Street.
Infant massage is a traditional practice that has been a normalized part of the daily family routine in many cultures for thousands of years. It has rapidly grown in popularity and clinical practice in the United States since the establishment of the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) and is in high demand in the healthcare profession especially in urban regions. Now, infant massage is the most researched form of massage therapy and is established through in over 75 countries. The statistics of its efficacy are substantial and why so many physicians recommend it, including a 98% relief of colic rate and 47% increased growth rate as well as significantly increased bonding, improved sleep, improved spatial sequential development, lower postpartum depression for mothers, and many more (Please download the Documented Benefits of Infant Massage to learn more).
As a Certified Educator of Infant Massage with IAIM who loves teaching group infant massage classes at Brookhaven Natural Birth Center, I am continually in awe of the beauty and power of this work when teaching families directly how to do infant massage on their babies. Observing families feel more empowered and connected to their new role of parenting gives an indescribable level of joy and wonder. For example, I had the joy of working with a midwife and her husband who went through the full infant massage training. As very well-educated and prepared parents, they were still overwhelmed by the major transition, and most especially the midwife who went back to work and was torn to leave her baby for a full day’s work. After learning infant massage, she knew that an hour of massage together before going to work would compensate for 8 hours apart and significantly reduces separation anxiety. She felt much more confident being able to provide for her family and nurture her son after learning infant massage, and noticed other beneficial results, too (read further for their testimonials and those of other parents).
The next session of infant massage classes began at Brookhaven’s Education Classroom on August 1, 2018 for a 4-week series of 90 minute sessions. No previous massage experience is necessary, and you have the opportunity in every class to massage your child. The recommended age range is from birth through about one year of age or crawling.
If you have any questions about infant massage or registering for a class, please reach out at anytime. Also, if you are very interested in attending yet the time is not practical, I’d also love to hear from you to create future class times that accommodate your schedule!
With warm regards,
Whitney Erwin, M.Ed., LMT
For questions or to register, contact Whitney at Four Seasons Harmony at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.fourseasonsharmony.com, or place a reservation online by choosing “Infant Massage Class Series” from our website: http://www.fourseasonsharmony.com/gift-certificates/gift-certificates.
Visit infantmassageusa.org to learn more!