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Indian J Med Res. 2000 Dec;112:212-7.

Effects of massage & use of oil on growth, blood flow & sleep pattern in infants.

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Department of Paediatrics, University College of Medical Sciences & G.T.B. Hospital, Delhi.



The present study was undertaken to investigate if massage with oils commonly used in the community for massage in infancy is beneficial.


Full term born healthy infants (n = 125), 6 +/- 1 wk of age, wt > 3000 g were randomly divided into five groups. Infants received (i) herbal oil, (ii) sesame oil, (iii) mustard oil, or (iv) mineral oil for massage daily for 4 wk. The fifth group did not receive massage and served as control. The study tools were anthropometeric measurements; microhaematrocrit; serum proteins, creatinine and creatine phosphokinase; blood flow using colour doppler and sleep pattern.


Massage improved the weight, length, and midarm and midleg circumferences as compared to infants without massage. However, in the group with sesame oil massage increase in length, midarm and midleg circumferences by 1.0, 0.9 and 0.7 cm, respectively was significant (P < 0.05, < 0.01 & < 0.05). There was no change in microhaematocrit, serum: proteins, albumin, creatinine and creatine phosphokinase between both the groups. The femoral artery blood velocity, diameter and flow improved significantly by 12.6 cm/sec, 0.6 cm and 3.55 cm3/sec respectively in the group with sesame oil massage as compared to the control group. Massage improved the post massage sleep, the maximum being 1.62 h in the sesame oil group (P < 0.0001).


Massage in infancy improves growth and post-massage sleep. However, only sesame oil showed significant benefit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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