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Premature Infant Massage in the NICU

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Infant massage therapy is an inexpensive tool that should be utilized as part of the developmental care of the preterm infant. Nurses have been hesitant to begin massage therapy for fear of overstimulating the infant and because there has been insufficient research to prove its safety. Recent research, however, has shown that the significant benefits of infant massage therapy far outweigh the minimal risks. When infant massage therapy is properly applied to preterm infants, they respond with increased weight gains, improved developmental scores, and earlier discharge from the hospital. Parents of the preterm infant also benefit because infant massage enhances bonding with their child and increases confidence in their parenting skills. This article discusses the benefits and risks of massage for preterm infants and their families and explains how to implement massage therapy in the neonatal intensive care setting.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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