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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2002 Dec;23(6):410-5.

Massage therapy by mothers enhances the adjustment of circadian rhythms to the nocturnal period in full-term infants.

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Department of Neonatology, Wolfson Medical Center, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of massage therapy on phase adjustment of rest-activity and melatonin secretion rhythms to the nocturnal period in full-term infants. Rest-activity cycles of infants (measurement 1, n = 16) were measured by actigraphy before and after 14 days of massage therapy (starting at age 10 [+/-4] d) and subsequently at 6 and 8 weeks of age. 6-Sulphatoxymelatonin excretion was assessed in urine samples at 6, 8, and 12 weeks of age (measurement 2, n = 21). At 8 weeks the controls revealed one peak of activity at approximately 12 midnight (11 p.m.-3 a.m.) and another one at approximately 12 noon (11 a.m.-3 p.m.), whereas in the treated group, a major peak was early in the morning (3 a.m.-7 a.m.) and a secondary peak in the late afternoon (3 p.m.-7 p.m.). At 12 weeks, nocturnal 6-sulphatoxymelatonin excretions were significantly higher in the treated infants (1346.38 +/- 209.40 microg/night vs 823.25 +/- 121.25 microg/night, respectively; <.05). It is concluded that massage therapy by mothers in the perinatal period serves as a strong time cue, enhancing coordination of the developing circadian system with environmental cues.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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