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Massage intervention for promoting mental and physical health in infants aged under six months

Creator:

Underdown, A., Barlow, J., Chung, V. and Stewart-Brown, S.

Subject Keywords: MENTAL HEALTH, THERAPY, OUTCOMES, INFANT HEALTH
Topic: Mental Health
Chronic Conditions
Type: Article
Region: International (other)
Description:

Infant massage is increasingly being used in the community for low-risk babies and their primary care givers. Anecdotal claims suggest benefits for sleep, respiration, elimination and the reduction of colic and wind. Infant massage is also thought to reduce infant stress and promote positive parent-infant interaction. Objectives The aim of this review was to assess the effectiveness of infant massage in promoting infant physical and mental health in population samples. Studies in which babies under the age of six months were randomised to an infant massage or a no-treatment control group, and utlising a standardised outcome measuring infant mental or physical development were used. Twenty-three studies were included in the review. One was a follow-up study and thirteen were included in a separate analysis due to concerns about the uniformly significant results and the lack of dropout. The results of nine studies providing primary data suggest that infant massage has no effect on growth, but provides some evidence suggestive of improved mother-infant interaction, sleep and relaxation, reduced crying and a beneficial impact on a number of hormones controlling stress. Results showing a significant impact on number of illnesses and clinic visits were limited to a study of Korean orphanage infants. There was no evidence of effects on cognitive and behavioural outcomes, infant attachment or temperament. The data from the 13 studies regarded to be at high risk of bias show uniformly significant benefits on growth, sleep, crying and bilirubin levels.

Date:

18/10/2006

Rights: © The Cochrane Collaboration
Suggested citation:

Underdown, A., Barlow, J., Chung, V. and Stewart-Brown, S.. (2006) Massage intervention for promoting mental and physical health in infants aged under six months [Online]. Available from: http://publichealthwell.ie/node/4414 [Accessed: 18th October 2019].

  

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