Shantala Baby Massage (also called Shantala Massage or Shantala Infant Massage) originates in India and is a full body massage for babies. Traditionally in India, it’s part of the daily care routines for babies.
This Indian Ayurvedic massage technique was made known around the world by the French obstetrician Frédérick Leboyer in the 1970s, who saw an Indian women in Calcutta (her name was Shantala) massaging her baby. Impressed by the treatment, Frédérick introduced this massage in Europe and named it after her.
Mind that infant massage has been practiced throughout the centuries in India and the techniques have been handed down across generations, from grandmother to mother to daughter, and so on. The origins can be traced back to the Kerala region in the South of India.
In any case, Shantala Massage is foremost a loving-care relaxing massage with beneficial emotional and psychological effects for the baby, but of course, it also stimulates the different body functions of the newborn, such as the circulatory, respiratory and digestive systems.
The baby, lying on a mat or blanket on the floor, on a massage table or supported on one’s legs, is gently massaged from head to toes, treating the head, face, torso, arms, legs and feet, and the back. Rhythmic movements, chanting and music may be part of the treatment.
Typically, natural massage oils are used, such as coconut, almond, jojoba or sesame oil, of course with taking into consideration possible allergic reactions of the baby for certain oils.