Effects of Infant Massage: A Systematic Review

Practicing infant massage in a variety of settings is common globally. However, there is a demand for an updated literature review on this topic. A recent study thus investigated the effects of infant massage. It conducted a systematic literature review of the studies published from 2017–2021, using the CINAHL, PubMed, and PsycINFO databases to investigate the effects of infant massage on the outcomes like pain relief, jaundice, and weight gain.

The review included 16 RCT/CCT studies with 1416 participating infants aged 0–12 months. Two independent reviewers assessed the risk of bias in the included studies. 

The results of the study were-

  • Five studies (n = 422) showed infant massage to alleviate pain. 
  • Six studies (n = 455) showed beneficial effects on bilirubin levels. 
  • Four studies (n = 244) found weight gain among participants receiving infant massage. 
  • Studies described no adverse effects with Infant massage.

This literature review explains the current state of knowledge about infant massage and identifies its positive effects; however, we must interpret the results with caution. Infant massage may relieve pain, improve jaundice, and increase weight gain. Yet, it did not show statistically significant differences between all experimental and control groups. By placing the effects mentioned above in the context of child health care, infant massage may benefit these outcomes. Given the absence of research on infant massage in the context of child health care, further research is necessary.

Mrljak R, Arnsteg Danielsson A, Hedov G, Garmy P. Effects of Infant Massage: A Systematic Review. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 24;19(11):6378. DOI: 10.3390/ijerph19116378. PMID: 35681968; PMCID: PMC9179989.

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