Cradling and nurturing physical affection are vital to the healthy development of an infant. If you're interested in elevating your understanding of how the power of human touch affects babies, or in exploring infant massage as a career, earning an infant massage certification would be of great use. Getting certified in this field involves several steps, devotion to the craft, and a passion for helping little ones and their families. Know how to start and complete the infant massage certification process so you can begin your path to career success in this interesting and fulfilling field of work.
What Is Infant Massage Therapy?
By definition, infant massage therapy is the process of rubbing and stroking an infant's muscles in a beneficial manner that's specifically designed for their bodies. Parents and caregivers are often the individuals engaging in the massage work, but in order to correctly execute infant massage techniques, a certified infant massage therapist is a necessary guide.
Different Titles and Certifications for Infant Massage
There are a few different areas of infant massage in which you can become certified. Each one is unique in what it offers and in what the training is to achieve the specific certification.
Certified Instructor of Infant Massage
A Certified Instructor of Infant Massage, or a CIMI, is the title that the International Association of Infant Massage uses to identify persons who have completed the necessary training and practicum requirements. This title is recognized in over fifty countries.
Certified Educator of Infant Massage
A Certified Educator of Infant Massage, or a CEIM, is a person who has completed the in-person or virtual sessions required for certification status, has completed all practicum requisites, and is also a CIMI.
International Association of Infant Massage Trainer
This individual is known by the acronym (IAIMT) and is a CEIM who has undergone much training through the International Association of Infant Massage. To become a trainer at this level, a person has to possess five years as a CEIM and retain experience teaching over 100 families/caregivers the art of infant massage. These are the people who train future instructors and educators in infant massage.
Becoming Certified in Infant Massage
There are several reasons to earn a certification in infant massage. Whether you are a parent hoping to better bond or care for your infant, or a person working in a field where infant contact is common, becoming certified in infant massage can boost your bond, confidence, and career options.
Who May Want to Pursue Infant Massage Certification?
Many people may be particularly interested in infant massage. At the top of this list are parents, caregivers, and grandparents who have researched the vast array of benefits that infant massage can bring to both baby and caregiver. Other individuals who might particularly benefit from becoming certified in infant massage are:
- Specific individuals on the NICU staff
- Massage therapists looking to expand clientele and business opportunities
- Midwives, doulas, and childbirth educators
- Nurses and social workers
- Early Intervention Strategists
What Is Taught in Infant Massage Courses?
The overall goals of becoming certified in infant massage will vary depending on the person and their work. Generally speaking, all who get trained and certified in infant massage should be able to:
- Promote infant massage to interested parties
- Explain how infant massage can benefit both baby and caregiver, discussing both emotional and physical benefits
- Demonstrate appropriate infant massage techniques on a doll
- Teach infant massage to individuals and small groups of learners
- Create a relaxed environment for maximum learning
- Facilitate parent and child bonding and communication during educational sessions
Making Your Certification Official
Typically, certification will involve several steps over a short period to achieve certification in the area of infant massage.
Most courses (and there are tons of virtual and in-person options to choose from) involve instruction that spans anywhere from two to four days. The courses might vary slightly in the requirements needed to obtain certification, but most will have students of the practice learn course objectives and strategies over several days. The certification process often involves a take-home exam where students seeking certification must prove their knowledge of the content covered during instruction. Students then take what they learned and apply it to a practicum setting, teaching parents or interested parties the art of infant massage. Some programs may require students of infant massage to complete several SOAP observations on families they are working with, or require families working with students to complete some type of evaluation form.
Once all components are completed, massage students submit all required components to their assigned trainer. It is critical to know every necessary aspect of the certification process, as they can vary from program to program.
Online Programs for Infant Massage Certification
When looking for a program to guide you in achieving your infant massage certification, you will want to be sure that the program is accredited. You also want to confirm that any trainers you work with are licensed to disseminate the information you are seeking. As with any educational program, do your research. Look into several options, make phone calls and ask questions. You will want to be entirely sure that you are not wasting your time or money, and that the end result will be a recognized certification in infant massage.
Infant Massage Misconception
It is a common misconception that infant massage certification means individuals can perform massage techniques on a baby. This is not accurate. It is the intention of the certified person to instruct parents and caregivers to perform techniques on their own infants. This particular certification is NOT a hands-on massage qualification. It does not allow certified individuals to perform massage directly, nor does it allow certified individuals to train parents to train others. Training is only done through those authorized to do precisely that.
What Can You Do With Your Infant Massage Certification?
Once you have completed your coursework, passed written exams, and done all practicum setting tasks, you will want to know what you can now do with this new skill. If you are a new Certified Educator of Infant Massage, you can:
- Educate parents, families, and caregivers in areas of infant massage
- Work with small groups or individuals
- Educate your community about topics related to your certification
- Participate in relevant research studies
- Present at conferences
The Benefits of Infant Massage
Passing on the benefits of infant massage is truly an incredible gift you are providing people. Some of the notable benefits of infant massage for babies are:
- Encourage bonding and interaction between baby and caregiver
- Help infants relax and sleep better
- Reduce crying and irritability
- Infant weight gain and overall growth
- Strengthening and regulating primary body systems in infants
Parents and caregivers also reap the benefits of infant massage. Infant massage has been known to:
- Help caregivers recognize and understand an infant's cues and needs
- Enhance emotional bonds
- Increase parental confidence
Decide If Infant Massage Certification Is Right for You
Before jumping into a verification program, be sure to assess if this field is right for you. Contemplate the goals of infant massage and the options to utilize the certification before diving into your training and program completion. Know what the program will require of you, and decide if you have the time and energy to devote to completing the program. Should you choose to move forward with certification, land on a course that suits your needs, and enjoy your journey to becoming an infant massage pro.