Our son was born six weeks premature in 1999. I wasn’t able to hold him for more than a few seconds after his delivery because he was in need of medical intervention. But in that brief moment, the incredible healing and bonding power of tender touch between parent and child became profoundly apparent.
Our little one remained in the intensive care nursery for two weeks. During that time, “infant massage,” in the very loosest and most forgiving of definitions, was something my husband and I found to be instinctual. It felt natural. Vital. We couldn’t resist gently touching, cradling our hand around, and caressing our newborn whenever we reached into his isolet or, better yet, had the chance to savor him outside the isolet.
Once at home with our healthy newborn, I began to study up on infant massage and learn about its tremendous and lasting benefits to babies and their parents. A writer, I found myself preparing a feature article for Massage Magazine about teaching infant massage. I was so moved by the instructors I met while researching the piece that I decided to pursue becoming one myself.
In June of 2002 (while pregnant with my second child), I trained at A Foundation for Healthy Family Living (FHFL) in Sonoma, CA—a visionary organization devoted to cultivating healthy, happy families and communities through the art of respectful communication and nurturing touch. I earned my certification as an Instructor of Infant Massage in June of 2003 and have had the privilege of teaching since.
Now a mother of three noodle-children who love to massage and be massaged, I am passionate about helping caregivers explore a new way of being fully present with their babies and helping babies know, experience, and thrive on parental love.
I leave every class feeling buoyant and blessed. I hope you will, too.
—Alisa Ikeda, CIIM