I was remembering some of the many books I have read over the years that related back to my time as an Active Birth/PreNatal Teacher and Baby Massage Teacher. This photograph reminded me of Frederick Leboyer's wonderful book called 'Loving Hands: The Traditional Art of Baby Massage'. It is mostly pictorial but it got me thinking about other world traditions and baby massage.
As Deepak Chopra says "It is the nature of babies to be in bliss." and as parents it is our rôle, our dharma to ensure that bliss - through massage.
Here is a short list of some of the fascinating reasons that baby massage is practised in other countries
Balinese, Mongolians & Australian Aborigines massage to relieve headaches and stomach aches.
China they believe that even babies can benefit from increased blood flow to different parts of the body through massage.
Cuba mothers massage babies' abdomens with oil and garlic to ease upset stomachs.
Fiji - parents massage a baby as a night time ritual.
Hawaii - mothers massage their baby’s faces as they believe it makes them beautiful.
India - massage is used from birth and older generations massage younger ones.
Korea culture it is believed that massaging the baby's legs routinely will encourage growth and make the babies tall.
Maori - mothers massage leg joints to help a child’s suppleness and gracefulness.
Mexico Zinacantecos believe a baby must be massaged and embraced frequently or he will lose his soul.
Nigeria - mothers massage their infants in belief that it will promote their health and well-being.
Russia - mothers believe massage develops the nervous system.
Samoa - usually massage the baby with either blood from the placenta or the umbilical cord.Some western cultures believe that too much holding and touching can spoil the infant. South Asia - mothers perform daily infant massage in the belief that it will install fearlessness, harden bone structure and enhance movement and limb coordination.
Tibet - parents are told massaging their baby is essential for full development.
Why do you massage your baby? Can you add your cultural tradition to this list?
Going back to books, if you are pregnant or a new parent - and have the time to read - here is another blast from the past book recommendation
'The Continuum Concept' by Jean Liedloff. A look at parenting from a different cultural perspective.