Neonatal care is critical as new born babies need essential and systematic care to minimize their risk of illnesses and enhance their growth and development. Ancient science or Ayurveda prescribes scientific practices toward new born care, called Jatamatra Paricharya. Neonatal massage is one of these protocols, also known as Abhyanga massage.
In Ayurveda, Abhyanga (the Sanskrit name for oil massage) is explained as a therapy that we must be practiced daily. It is not identical to a massage or an oil application but a systematic application of oil over the body, especially head, ears and foot.
Shishu Abhyanga is an essential baby ritual for their growth and wellness. In new born and children, application of oil reduces stress, provides tactile stimulation, improves blood supply, protects from heat loss and also provides additional energy. Massage plays a crucial role in the formative years. At this stage, muscles become sturdier, sense organs grow stronger and the brain grows rapidly. This is also the time when immunity builds up rapidly. Body Massage increases secretion of human growth hormone (HGH- promoter of normal growth) in babies. It minimizes anxiety and improves sleep.
Abhyanga in babies is practised according to the principle of Ayurveda. Childbirth is a natural process that involves stress and strain for both mother and the child. It is also believed to aggravate Vata Dosha in the baby and mother. According to Ayurveda, Abhyanga is said to balance Vata Dosha in the body. It is also a beautiful way of developing the mother-child bond. The gentle strokes or tactile sensation creates a sense of security & pleasure in both the mother and the child.
Benefits of Abhyanga for babies
- It boosts their immunity
- Nourishes hair and scalp
- Improves natural sleep of the baby
- Helps in proper weight gain
- Improves thermoregulation (temperature control)
- Promotes proper neuromuscular wellness
- Improves natural lustre of hair of the baby
- Helps in overall growth, wellness and development of the baby
Proper technique of performing Abhyanga for babies
- Preferably in the morning or evening, Abhyanga must be performed on an empty stomach
- The oil should be slightly warmed up before applying for better absorption
- The baby can be seated or spread on a tub or hygienic sheet to massage
- While oil application, pressure must not be exerted on the baby
- Finger nails must be clean and trimmed before applying oil on babies
- Contact of oil with eyes must be avoided
- Adequate care should be taken while holding the baby and massaging, to prevent fall and injury
- After Abhyanga, the baby must be well wrapped in a towel to keep warm
- Abhyanga or oil massage must be followed with a lukewarm water bath
In vitally stable neonates Abhyanga can be performed with particular precaution considering the indications and contraindications.
Contraindications for Abhyanga
- It must be avoided soon after feeding
- If the baby has cold, cough or fever, Abhyanga should be avoided
- In premature and low birth babies, consulting the paediatric on oil massage is vital
- If the child shows signs of vomiting, indigestion or loose stools, avoid Abhyanga
Given the above considerations, MAATE has formulated Baby Body Massage Oil with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Pomegranate Seed Oil and Rosemary Oil. Wheatgerm Oil, Coconut Oil and Avocado Oil enhance the absorption of nutrients into the baby bones and other body cells. The goodness of Centella Asiatica strengthen blood vessels & stimulate blood circulation.Give your little ones an Abhyanga massage with our nutrient-rich baby body oil to strengthen their delicate limbs and muscle health. Enriched with precious natural extracts, MAATÉ Baby Body Massage Oil has powerful properties that increase your baby’s bone density and strength.
Courtesy: Kerela Ayurveda, CCRAS, Ministry of Ayush, Govt. Of India