Sneha. This ancient Sanskrit word can be translated two ways in the English language: it means both “oil” and “love”. This speaks volumes to the nourishing effect that oil massage has on our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Daily oil massage is perhaps the simplest and most loving gift you can give your child. Baby massage, an ancient Ayurvedic custom still practiced to this day in India, has been finding its way into households here in the west. Many western parents are understanding that this massage sets the best foundation for your child’s lifelong health. Some tips: Ideally you will perform the baby massage right after bathing your infant. Wait until your baby is at least 1 month old to begin this wonderful ritual. This is when your baby’s body is strong enough for massage with the hands. FYI: in traditional Indian culture, the baby is massaged with a soft ball of dough dipped in a little oil and turmeric from infancy to 4 weeks.
Our own AYURVEDA BABY MASSAGE OIL covers all the bases. Be sure to use 100% organic oils to properly nourish your baby. Appropriate massage oils for baby massage include almond oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Be sure that the oil you use is 100% plant-based and does not contain mineral oils or synthetic fragrances, as these are petroleum-based and contain toxic contaminants.
1. Warm the oil first in your hands or by placing the oil bottle in hot water for a few moments.
2. Place your baby on a changing table or on your lap. Be sure to place a sheet or towel under your baby.
3. Gently begin by applying oil to your baby’s scalp.
4. Massage down the arms and then the legs. Use long strokes down the limbs, and circles around the joints.
5. Massage your baby’s abdomen in a large clockwise motion.
6. Optional: turn your baby onto its belly, and massage the back and buttocks – using long strokes down the back, and circular strokes on the buttocks.
7. Wrap your baby in warm clothes or a warm blanket to settle down for a restful nap. Make sure the baby’s head is facing east, for the soundest sleep.
Baby massage has been practiced in India for centuries, and is an integral part of every family’s routine. Here are the benefits of the ritual, according to Ayurveda:
· Activates important bonding hormones between mama and baby.
· Promotes healthy and nourished skin.
· Increases circulation of the blood and the lymphatic system.
· Drains toxins from the baby’s body and strengthens the immune system.
· Helps with baby’s digestion and bowel movements.
· Helps with baby’s sound sleep.
As a parent, be sure not to neglect your own health – don't forget your own daily Abhyanga massage! ~ Kiera