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"Massaged babies sleep well, cry less"

Ottawa Citizen

Source: Ottawa Citizen

Published: 10 Nov 2021

Category: Other

Rating: (1½ stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Gentle massage reduces the level of stress hormones in babies under a year old, helping them sleep better and cry less, a British study finds. But better than that, it also appears to help mothers suffering from postnatal depression.

Massage is a bonding experience for parents and babies alike, says the University of Warwick study. And it says the massage method is easy for new parents (and grandparents) to learn.

"Given the apparent effect of infant massage on stress hormones, it is not surprising to find some evidence of an effect on sleep and crying," said Angela Underdown of the University of Warwick...

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 3 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Not Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This article highlights how massaging babies is beneficial in many ways. It states that besides being a positive bonding experience for parents and their children, it is thought to also reduce stress levels in babies, resulting in happier children who are less likely to wake up during the night.

However, this article does not base this claim on any conclusive, quantifiable data. It states in fact that the babies "seem[ed] happier, and less fretful" and it claimed it helped them sleep better and cry less but does not delve into what "seeming happier" entails.

In addition, this article also states that not all the parents followed the same style, therefore putting into question the vague results the studies did provide.

There is no question that babies, like most other human beings, would benefit from massages however there needs to be further tests conducted in a more standardized way to understand more precisely the benefits babies derive from these practices.

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