Your training is very popular here in Japan. How did this relationship begin, and why do people here respond so well to your work?
Some years ago I was invited to teach in Japan by Eiko Hara, who attended my London teacher training. As a result of our association, I now have some 1,000 teachers in Japan teaching Developmental Baby Massage and Yoga Gym to mothers and babies. I think that Japanese people, as well as wanting to know the best way to do something, also need to know exactly why it is the best way, and my courses fulfill these criteria.
Who are your courses designed for?
My courses are designed for all those who work or wish to work with parents, babies and children to improve child health and family relationships.
You have been involved in this field for 30 years. What major changes have you seen during this time? Have any of these changes impacted on your work?
The biggest change today is the recognition in Western medicine of the crucial role that love plays throughout pregnancy, childbirth and child development and the value of positive touch in alleviating fear and trauma, the relief of which leaves the mind more able to focus in the present moment.
You specialize in developmental baby massage for infants and children with special needs. Can you briefly list some of the lesser-known benefits baby massage brings?
Massage can loosen a limb that’s too tight and tighten a limb that’s too loose. As the center of emotion, massaging a baby’s belly (in the right way at the right time) can ease fractiousness, colic, constipation and other ailments associated with both abdominal pain and discomfort and emotional anxieties. Parents whose children have severe additional needs can do something to improve the everyday quality of their child’s life, with the possibility of bringing about major improvements in motor movement and coordination.
What advice do you have for new parents regarding baby massage at home?
For the first six weeks your baby needs to be held, rocked, rubbed, talked to and reassured until they have literally gathered their senses in what to them is a strange new world. At birth our mother’s arms are the one thing that is familiar to us in an unfamiliar world.
Can you explain an easy massage technique for novices to gain confidence?
Sit with your baby on your lap, clothed, and with a relaxed hand gently feel and massage their tummy from side to side. Rub their back and gently feel and give a reassuring squeeze to their arms and legs. Spend a little time getting to know each other. Touch is your baby’s first language and the way you hold and touch your baby tells them how loved and wanted they are.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.babymassageteachertraining.com.