Masters Thesis

The impact of an infant massage course on the communication relationship of a mother-infant dyad

The communication relationship between infants and their caregivers is full of complexities built on a highly dependent social and emotional dyadic experience. Infant massage is thought to be a method of intervention that enhances relationship by regulating both the baby and the mother. Massage is thought to stimulate language development, relieve physiological issues, provide relaxation, and promote interactions within the dyad. This research utilizes an infant massage course as the mode of intervention implemented to discover its effect on the unique communication relationship between a mother and her infant. Three mothers were recruited to participate in a two month study in which they were given a series of home visits. The home visits included assessment procedures for the study, learning a series of massage strokes, and psycho-educational materials on infant growth and development. The mothers were asked to log their massage interactions with their infants for a total of nine weeks. The mothers in this study indicated that the infant massage course benefited their relationship with their infants in ways that contribute to a healthy foundation for the communication relationship. The infants were noted to be more regulated in their sleep routines and colic symptoms were lessened or eliminated. The mothers set aside time to have one on one time with their infants and learned more about their individual needs and personality traits. The result of the cumulative effect of the mothers’ enhanced awareness of their infant and the positive changes in infant behavior lead to the dyads’ increased availability for healthy communication exchanges.