Preterm Infants Benefit from Massage Therapy

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Published May 16, 2013, on Medical News Today

It seems that even for the smallest of people, a gentle massage may be beneficial. Newborn intensive care units (NICUs) are stressful environments for preterm infants; mechanical ventilation, medical procedures, caregiving activities and maternal separation create these stressful conditions.

Born under-developed, preemies have an immature autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls stress response and recovery. For a preemie, even a diaper change is stressful and the immature ANS over reacts to these stressors. Since preterm infants can’t process stressors appropriately, interventions are needed to enhance ANS function and maturity. Read the full story.