Infant massage expert explains benefits

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by Cathy Marshall

KGW Staff

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 10:34 PM

PORTLAND, Oregon -- If you’ve had a massage you know the relaxing benefits and might understand why there’s a movement to let babies enjoy the experience.

A Southeast Portland massage therapist is a world leader in the effort.

“It’s really a tried and true ancient tradition practiced by many cultures,” said Diana Moore, the founder of Loving Touch.

Moore has taken the techniques to neonatal intensive care units in the United States and to orphanages around the world.

“Babies who are gassy or have colic can benefit because it helps reduce some of the stress hormones,” said Moore, as she led a class for parents.

Infant massage can also improve circulation, breathing and even help with teething.

“After we did the first leg massage, it was pretty significantly different. I could feel how relaxed his leg was,” said one young mother as she caressed her son.

Moore recommends the tender touching begin at a month to six weeks and last about 15 minutes each day.

“There are endorphins that are released in the system and parents often say their babies sleep better after,” Moore said.

Other parents believe it helps with dexterity.

“He’s been able to reach out and grab and do other things pretty fast,” said the father of a 3-month-old.

Moore said the majority of American parents haven’t tried massage. She’s out to change that one touch at a time.

“These women here in class today are like the grandmothers in other culture who pass along massage as a tradition,” Moore said.

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