Shishu Abhyanga (Baby Massage) - Benefits, How To Do, FAQ
In our lifespan, we tend to grow most rapidly during our childhood years. The bones lengthening, muscles becoming sturdier, sense organs getting stronger; brain growing rapidly, so does the immunity.
With so many activities going on during childhood, it is necessary for the body to have sufficient care & maintenance. This can happen in two ways –
1. Healthy and nutritious food that facilitates healthy metabolism
2. Care of the body through Oil massage.
-- Oil Massage in Babies
-- Benefits of Abhyanga to baby
-- Proper way & time for Abhyanga
-- Baby massage oil by Kerala Ayurveda
-- Why Kerala Ayurveda Baby oil is safe for your Baby?
Oil Massage in Babies
The traditional practice of Abhyanga done to babies is very much in accordance with the principles of Ayurveda. Childbirth is a natural process involving considerable stress & strain both to mother & child. Such activities increase Vata dosha in the body. According to Ayurveda, Abhyanga (oil massage) is considered best in controlling aggravated Vata dosha. Traditionally we find babies been given an oil bath and then covered well with warm clothing so that they feel well. Having a balanced Vata Dosha is essential for the proper growth and development of babies.
Abhyanga is a fantastic way of developing a bond between mother & child. The touch or tactile sensation creates a sense of security & pleasure in both the mother & the child.
Previously modern doctors would negate the idea of baby massage as unhygienic & unscientific. But modern researches have proved the benefits of baby massage. Tactile stimulation caused during massage is said to release hormones like Oxytocin which creates a pleasurable feeling both in mother & child, it improves their mental bonding. The physical maneuver done during the massage is found to be helpful in neuromuscular development of the child. Studies have also shown that oil is not just a lubricant but various oils used have got other added benefits like weight gain & providing nutrition.
Benefits of Abhyanga to baby
- It helps in proper Neuromuscular wellness.
- It improves the luster of the skin
- It builds immunity of the child
- Improves natural sleep of the baby
- It improves thermoregulation (temperature control)
- It nourishes hair & scalp
- It helps in proper weight gain
- It is helpful in the overall growth & development of the baby /toddler
Proper way & time for Abhyanga
- It should be done preferably in the morning or in the evening, on an empty stomach. If the baby has been fed, it is best to wait for an hour before doing the massage
- Baby can be seated or spread on a tub or hygienic sheet to massage
- Oil should be made slightly warm (indirect heat) before applying over the body
- Abhyanga should always be followed by a lukewarm water bath. Make sure the water is not too hot and is comfortable for the baby
- After Abhyanga baby should be well covered & kept warm. Baby should never be exposed to cold wind
- Pressure should never be applied while massaging babies
- Hands & nails of the care-giver have to be hygienically maintained while massaging babies. Nails should be trimmed to avoid injuring sensitive skin
- Contact of oil with eyes has to be avoided
- Some babies may be allergic to few oils, apply a drop on hands to see to check for any reactions
- Sufficient care should be taken while holding the baby and massaging, to prevent fall and injury
Contra – indications for Abhyanga
- It should not be done soon after feeding
- It should be avoided if there are signs of indigestion like vomiting, loose stools etc.
- It should be avoided when the baby has a cold, cough, fever etc.
- In premature & low birth weight babies, please consult a doctor for advice on oil massage
Baby massage oil by Kerala Ayurveda
With all the above considerations, Kerala Ayurveda has designed an excellent – ‘Baby oil’ which caters to the needs of the growing baby. The formulation is inspired by an ancient Ayurveda formula from the book – ‘Arogya Raksha Kalpa drumam’. This oil has a history of usage for more than 500 years. Kerala Ayurveda Baby Oil is prepared with a unique base of Urukku Velichenna i.e., Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (derived from the milk of mature coconut). It has got a perfect combination of Ayurvedic herbs like Peepal leaf, Sandalwood, Ashwagandha, Liquorice & Jatamansi.
- It is suitable for both head & body massage
- It is specially designed to suit the sensitive skin of babies & can be used for all skin types
- It is free from harmful chemicals, artificial color, artificial fragrances, preservatives and hazardous ingredients
- It is the best oil for baby massage as it is made out of 100% natural herbal ingredients
In a study done in the Philippines on extra virgin coconut oil, it was found that this oil increased skin surface lipids & thus improved skin hydration. It was concluded safe for use. Another study conducted on the effect of Coconut oil versus other mineral oils used for baby massage showed better weight gain with Coconut oil. Coconut oil is certainly one of the best media for baby massage oil.
Why Kerala Ayurveda Baby oil is safe for your Baby?
- It is made out of pure coconut milk (not dry coconut). It is proven to be the richest source of Lauric acid, a unique immunity boosting fatty acid which is found only in mother’s milk
- It is made out of pure coconut oil & hence suitable for dry & sensitive skin
- Due to its low viscosity texture & unique molecular structure, this oil has got easy absorption & penetration through skin layers
- Kerala Ayurveda baby oil also helps to relieve diaper rashes.
Each ingredient used in the oil has got unique therapeutic properties
-- Ashwatha (Ficus religiosa)
It is noted for its wound healing property. Studies have shown that it has got flavonoids that are anti-inflammatory in nature & thus stimulate circulation. This reduces the fatigue on the lower limbs after the massage.
-- Bilva (Aegle marmelos)
An essential herb for balancing Vata Dosha and to relieve muscle swelling and inflammation.
-- Yastimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
It is an excellent Ayurveda herb for skincare. It relieves skin rashes, promotes skin complexion and glow (Ayurveda texts explain Yashtimadhu having the quality of Varnya – that which improves skin complexion). Studies have shown that it helps to regenerate elastin & collagen in the skin. It has got natural anti-microbial & anti-fungal properties. Glycyrrhizin present in Liquorice is found to be helpful in reducing redness & swelling of the skin.
-- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is a popular herb to promotes immunity, muscle & bone strength, promotes growth and nourishment.
-- Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi)
A well-known Ayurveda herb for its Medhya (improving memory & intellect) effect. It is highlighted for its soothing & calming effect on the brain. It is also described as Kantiprada – that which improves the complexion & luster of the skin. Studies have shown that it contains antioxidants that prevent skin from damage by removing free radicles.
With the richness & goodness of all these herbs, Kerala Ayurveda Baby oil is a perfect choice for massaging your baby. It can be surely accepted & trusted for its purity & efficacy.
1. What safety measures should I take before and after applying oil on my baby?
A baby massage is called Shishu Abhyanga in Sanskrit and is recommended that it be done in the morning, ensuring the baby is on an empty stomach. It is also imperative to use the right Ayurvedic baby massage oil depending on the Dosha type. Vata-related oil for normal or dry skin, Pitta-related oil for sensitive skin, and Kapha-related oil for oily skin and avoid contact with the baby’s eyes.
The oil must be warmed slightly before being applied and care must be taken not to apply pressure while massaging. It is also good to go through some stretches for the baby.
When it comes to the bath after the massage, it must be ensured that lukewarm water is used. Once the massage and bath are done, care must be taken to keep the baby warm and wrapped sufficiently.
Note: The Abhyanga must not be done if the baby is suffering from a cold, cough, or any digestive discomfort.
2. Which oil is best for a baby massage?
We can recommend our own Kerala Ayurveda’s baby oil as one of the most reliable Ayurvedic baby massage oils. Kerala Ayurveda has done comprehensive research before mixing five of the best herbs to come up with oil for babies that nourishes like no other. The following effective herbs have been used as ingredients in the Kerala Ayurveda baby oil.
3. Is Nalpamaradi Thailam good for babies?
The Nalpamaradi Thailam is basically made using the bark of four different trees, most importantly the Peepal tree. This Thailam is used mainly for skin conditions like itching, eczema, etc. There is also merit to the fact this oil nourishes the skin and hence can be used for babies.
As a general rule though, precaution must be taken that the oil isn’t too harsh for the baby. It is recommended that the Nalpamaradi Thailam be mixed with Almond Oil to make it suitable for the delicate skin of the baby.
4. How can I improve my baby’s skin?
Improving your baby’s skin is essential for the general health of the baby and is something that can be easily accomplished by following simple everyday routines.
One of the most important routines to follow is to give your baby a soothing massage, preferably using the Kerala Ayurveda baby oil, before a bath. The essential components in the oil nourish and strengthen the baby, while vastly improving the skin quality and keeping it supple.
Apart from the practice of massaging your baby, you must also make sure to keep him/her warm at all times. This helps keep the skin moist, reducing the chances of dry skin and allergies.
5. Is mustard oil safe for a baby’s skin?
Varunadi Kwath and Triphala Kwath are classical formulations that help you manage healthy weight naturally. They aid in natural detoxification and balance Kapha and Medas (adipose tissue). When these Kwaths are used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise or yoga, they can help regulate metabolism and maintain a normal, healthy weight. Since not all Kwaths have the same benefits, make sure to consult an Ayurvedic doctor to understand which Kwath will suit you.