Massage stimulates growth in preterm infants: A replication

Frank A. Scafidi, Tiffany M. Field, Saul M. Schanberg, Charles R. Bauer, Karen Tucci, Jacqueline Roberts, Connie Morrow, Cynthia M. Kuhn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Forty preterm infants (M gestational age = 30 weeks; M birth weight = 1176 gms; M duration ICU care = 14 days) were assigned to treatment and control groups once they were considered medically stable. Assignments were based on a random stratification of gestational age, birth weight, intensive care duration, and study entrance weight. The treatment infants (n = 20) received tactile/kinesthetic stimulation for three 15-min periods during 3 consecutive hours per day for a 10-day period. Sleep/wake behavior was monitored and Brazelton assessments were performed at the beginning and at the end of the treatment period. The treated infants averaged a 21% greater weight gain per day (34 vs. 28 gms) and were discharged 5 days earlier. No significant differences were demonstrated in sleep/wake states and activity level between the groups. The treated infants' performance was superior on the habituation cluster items of the Brazelton scale. Finally, the treatment infants were more active during the stimulation sessions than during the nonstimulation observation sessions (particularly during the tactile segments of the sessions). Although these data confirm the positive effects of tactile/kinesthetic stimulation, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-188
Number of pages22
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990


  • activity
  • massage
  • preterm infants
  • stimulation
  • weight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Massage stimulates growth in preterm infants: A replication'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this