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Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006 Aug;12(3):181-5. Epub 2006 Mar 13.

Effect of massaging babies on mothers: pilot study on the changes in mood states and salivary cortisol level.

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  • 1Department of Nursing, School of Medicine, Yamagata University, 2-2-2-Iidanishi, Yamagata City 990-9585, Japan.


The purpose of this pilot study was to evaluate the effects of baby massage for 3 months after delivery on mothers' mood status and salivary cortisol level. Study participants were a convenient sample of mothers who delivered their babies at a hospital in Japan, and were recruited at the time of the routine 5-6 weeks postnatal visit to the pediatric office. Thirty-nine mothers were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Nineteen mothers in the experimental group were examined before the first day of the baby massage, and 3 months after delivery. The psychological measurements used were profile of mood states (POMS). In the physiological measurements, the salivary cortisol level was analyzed. The result revealed that significant differences in the POMS score were seen in depression and vigor between the two groups at 3 months. There were no significant differences in the salivary cortisol levels. Baby massage was found to positively affect the mood status of the mothers. We propose that midwives and other health-care professionals should recommend mothers to do baby massage to improve their own mood status.

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