How baby massage is used around the world, in different cultures

Mar 27, 2023
mother massaging baby, words overlay read How baby massage is used around the world, in different cultures

The word ‘massage’ comes from the Arabic ‘to stroke’ Infant massage origins are difficult to trace, the belief is that massage was instinctive from a parent's touch towards the baby. However, there are some signs of early infant massage in other cultures around the world but it has been fairly modern in western culture. 

In India, baby massage has been used from generation to generation often using breast milk applied to baby skin. This is often done from birth to stimulate babies' body systems. Grandmother teaches mother, mother teaches daughter and baby receives full benefits of this loving tradition.

In New Zealand, the Maori mothers provide massage for their babies in the hopes of straightening their legs and improving their nose shape.

Cuban mothers rub their baby’s tummies with a mixture of oil and garlic to cure their tummy aches.

In Russia, parents learn baby massage in hospitals which has been the case for along time. It is seen as a key part of raising a baby. 

Many Samoan families believe massage with coconut milk, flowers, and grassroots may provide the ‘cure” for anything from a baby’s diarrhea to an adult’s headache

In Morocco henna, butter, mint, or some aromatic mixed of marjoram (a type of oregano) is used to massage babies, these are all believed to be beneficial for baby and their core health. 

In Nepal babies are massaged twice per day, using mustard seed oil and breast milk, which is very stimulating, They are massaged frequently, often outside in the warm rays of the sunlight.

In Nigeria babies from Borno are welcomed to this world with a massage from the people who visit them after birth.

In China, techniques of pediatric and infant massage have been practiced by medical professionals for thousands of years, often under the auspice of a practice known as Tuina.  

In Thailand, there has been a long history of Thai massage which utilizes techniques of following meridians and increased range of motion.

In ColombiaKangaroo Care’ is used a lot for premature babies, this is now starting to become more used in the UK.

In the UK we are only just beginning to learn its history and major benefits that other countries and cultures have used for centuries.

So while we think of Baby massage as a modern way of showing our love to our babies, it has been around for a very long time and research around baby massage is always progressing. 

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