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

Sari Goldstein Ferber*, Moshe Laudon, Jacob Kuint, Aron Weller, Nava Zisapel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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 μg/night vs 823.25 ± 121.25 μg/night, respectively; p < .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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-415
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2002

Keywords

  • Circadian rhythms
  • Full-term infants
  • Massage therapy
  • Melatonin

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