IAIM UK - the UK’s leading authority on infant massage - turns 20 this summer, and continues to set the bar in its field of expertise; providing parents and professionals with world-class advice, education and training, while supporting important humanitarian projects.
What makes us so special?
The International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM) is the original and longest standing infant massage association in the world – with an international heritage dating back to the 1960’s – and still to this day is the only association in the world dedicated solely to infant massage.
Accredited by The Royal College of Midwives, the purpose of the International Association of Infant Massage is to promote nurturing touch and touch communication through training, education and research; powering its belief that it is every baby’s fundamental birth right to receive nurturing touch. The IAIM UK Chapter celebrated its landmark 20th anniversary in the UK on 5th July 2017.
The power of touch
Babies and children need plenty of positive attention in order to grow into healthy and happy adults and the provision of nurturing touch through physical affection, cuddles and massage is an important aspect in child development.
Touch communication creates a sense of safety and security for babies, resulting in lower stress levels and the ability to self-soothe (note: studies show that nurturing touch reduces cortisol levels - the stress hormone - promoting the development of a healthy immune system). It also enables babies and their parents/primary caregivers to bond and form early attachment relationships, during what is the most sensitive period of baby’s social and emotional development.
Setting the bar in baby massage -
More and more baby massage instructors and replica-training providers are emerging in the UK, but none that can offer the trusted heritage, international expertise and ongoing professional standards of the IAIM. The IAIM adheres to uncompromised ways of working that promote infant safety and wellbeing above all else. Many of the infant massage strokes used and taught by the IAIM are unique to the Association, and are constantly monitored and modified in accordance with health professionals’ guidelines. What’s more, all qualified IAIM instructors are given on-going professional development to ensure their techniques are always the most relevant and of the highest standards.
Another point of difference for IAIM training and instructors is its belief in the importance of asking baby for permission to be touched. This teaches respect, and helps baby to begin to establish healthy social boundaries. Learning how to look for infant cues is therefore an important factor in establishing communication through touch.
Techniques such as these [spotting cues and tuning into intuition] go much deeper than the physical massage strokes themselves, and are skills that the IAIM believes can only be learned through real-life experience. It’s for this reason that the IAIM will never teach its programmes via online courses and two-dimensional video tutorials. All training is conducted face-to-face.
Sir Richard Bowlby, attachment theory expert, and Patron of the IAIM UK Chapter
"I’m incredibly proud to be the patron of the IAIM’s UK Chapter, whose work continues to set the gold standard in matters of infant touch communication and child development. The IAIM is the world’s longest standing association, specialising purely in baby and infant touch - and with important projects in development, I’m certain the 20 year milestone is just the beginning."
The Association also runs a Humanitarian Fund which has been set up to support vital humanitarian causes in the UK and beyond; providing training programmes and support, in partnership with charities such as the British Red Cross, HIV charity Body and Soul, Refuge and the IAIM Kenyan Project.
For parents interested in taking part in an IAIM Sunflower Baby Massage course with their baby, please contact me for details. For professionals interested in training with us to become an IAIM Certified Infant Massage Instructor, please call our UK Head Office on 020 8989 9597 or visit www.iaim.org.uk
"Every baby in the world should receive nurturing touch as its
Vimala McClure, founder of IAIM and best-selling author
Sarah Egerton ~ IAIM UK
Vimala McClure ~ Founder of the IAIM
Sunflower Baby Massage
Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth
The Sunflower Families featured in this article are:
Heather and Baby Albert
Chris, Naomi and Baby Kai
Joe and Baby Roland