“We like to hold them in our arms, enjoy their smile, look into their eyes, smell their scent, tickle their nose, talk to them, rock them and why not also massage them…”
Océane Chavanel, naturopath and well-being masseuse in Lyon tells us about the Shantala baby massage. This traditional art which comes to us from southern India and which was introduced to the West by Dr Frédérick Leboyer in the 1950s.
Infant massage is an ancestral practice taught naturally from mother to daughter in many countries. Our Western societies have placed certain taboos around massage and touching the baby. Fortunately, this has tended to change since the 1970s thanks to fruitful scientific research demonstrating the benefits of massage on babies. One of the most recognized and widely practiced massages is Shantala. We owe this name to the famous gynecologist and obstetrician Frédéric Leboyer. During a trip to India, he was struck with wonder at this young mother named Shantala, sitting massaging her baby on the ground. Subsequently, he introduced this tradition of neonatal massage to France and called it “Shantala”.
Numerous scientific researches have demonstrated the positive aspects of baby massage, in particular by highlighting a hormone called oxytocin. This “happiness and well-being” hormone plays a determining role in the attachment of the parent-child bond. We noticed that oxytocin levels increased when the parent touched and interacted with their baby. This reduces the baby's daily stress, particularly following childbirth, and soothes pain (teething, digestive problems, colic, etc.). A relaxed baby is also a baby who will have an easier time falling asleep and a more peaceful sleep.
Océane Chavanel – Yoga Korner, 3 rue Pizay 69001 Lyon – 07 78 90 24 56 – www.therapieetmassage.com