In an earlier post I wrote about babies and sleep. I mentioned the two hormones that influence sleep: serotonin and melatonin. Well, guess what: serotonin appears to be responsible for much more than just affecting the quality of your sleep!
Serotonin is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. It helps communication along and between nerve cells. This hormone is believed, by certain researchers, to influence a person’s mood balance, hence its nickname of “happy hormone”
It has been found that a deficiency in serotonin can result in feelings of sadness, depression or aggressive behaviour. What would you do to prevent your baby/child to suffer from these symptoms? Anything, right? Do you agree with me that there is too much negativity and aggression in today’s world? Well then, here’s something that could play a role in making the world a little better with happier people- baby massage! Regular massage increases serotonin levels, it’s as simple as that! And it works both ways, the person performing the massage (you!) will benefit from it as well.
Another “happy” hormone and neurotransmitter that influences mood is dopamine. Similar to serotonin, a deficiency in dopamine has been found to possibly result in feelings of anxiety and sadness. And again, simply performing regular massage increases dopamine levels. How great is that!
During my course to become an infant massage instructor I studied a research that was done in Sweden with young children of 4-5 years old. They were behaving quite aggressively. It was decided to do a test to see what could help them improve their behaviour. The test took place at their day-care centres. Every day 5-10 minutes of their “quiet time” at noon, half of the group were sitting down in a pleasant room whilst someone was reading a story to them or they listened to music. At the same time the other half received massage in a different room. All the children’s behaviour improved, but the difference in the massaged children was much more significant!
Something else that can enhance mood is exercise! Just a bit of a walk can really do wonders. Now obviously your little bub is not able to go for a walk yet. However… during the baby massage course you will also be shown how to do some lymphatic exercises with your baby. They are great fun to do, babies love them! Everybody is happy!
Of course there are many things that can influence your mood, can you think of a few that would change yours? So, if giving your baby regular massage (and continuing during their entire childhood) and doing these fun exercises can help, why wouldn’t you try? It’s a small investment into a happier future!