The Language of Touch
I have been teaching infant massage since 1993. It has been quite a journey, a journey into the loving language of touch. The language of touch is tender and beautiful.
“Touch” is a baby’s world – soft, warm, and comforting. It is sometimes called the “mother” sense, the “first” sense. It define’s a baby’s world. It says, “I am safe and secure, growing and maturing, all intact.” Touch connects a baby and mother, baby and father. It unifies them, brings them together. It is the baby’s first language! A loving hand on a baby’s back or foot, is simple and sweet, and relays a message, a message of love and comfort. Babies need this message to thrive, grow and develop, to become strong and sure of themselves. They need to eventually grow up, and walk away and begin their own lives while still feeling the threads of connection to their parents.
Much research has been done on the “language of touch” with babies including: the work of well known anthropologist Ashley Montague, who authored Touching: The Human Significance of Skin and the International Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Medical School.
Cultures around the world have massaged babies for comfort, for closeness, to help them sleep, to help deal with gas and digestion and the list goes on…
A baby massage class is a special place. Sometimes quiet, often noisy with babies having all of their moods. The first class is usually the most chaotic, like a symphony of baby noises that all seems to calm down by the end of the class. When babies feel safe, they may fuss and let go of their inner distress. Loving, warm touch helps create a safe place.
In a 4 week class, babies grow right before your eyes -grow , change, and develop. Some babies take to having a massage right away, others are shyer, and need their parents to be patient and give them little bits of massage every day until they are ready to connect with this new experience, to fully relax into it, to come home to it. Then, it falls into place and parent and baby are fully together, in the moment and enjoying the massage. Before you begin you start with learning how to “ask your baby’s permission”, verbally or non-verbally. After a few times, you may get a clear response like this delightful example of “little legs or arms” going straight up into the air.
In teaching an infant massage class, the instructor learns to be calm and assured in the midst of chaos and noisy babies. This takes practice, and you learn that it will all work out, both babies and parents will calm down and relax.
You begin to trust the process and it is magical! There is a popular saying that I love that describes this magic, “where there is great love, there are always miracles”. It is an honor to teach this ancient world wide art, the art of lovingly massaging a baby.