Preterm infants show reduced stress behaviors and activity after 5 days of massage therapy

Maria Hernandez-Reif, Miguel Diego, Tiffany Field

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Preterm infants residing in an NICU were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or to a control group. The preterm infants in the massage therapy group received three 15-min massages each day for 5 consecutive days, with the massages consisting of moderate pressure stroking to the head, shoulders, back, arms and legs and kinesthetic exercises consisting of flexion and extension of the limbs. Infant stress behaviors and activity were recorded on the first and last day of the study. Preterm infants receiving massage therapy showed fewer stress behaviors and less activity from the first to the last day of the study. The findings suggest that massage has pacifying or stress reducing effects on preterm infants, which is noteworthy given that they experience numerous stressors during their hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-561
Number of pages5
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Activity
  • Massage
  • Preterm infants
  • Stress behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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