When I got home from my first trip to India in 1973, a lot of work was waiting for me. It was another three years before I began to think about infant massage again. My husband and I began to try for a baby. In 1975 I was out of work, with a lot of free time in which I thought about and dreamed about my first baby which was finally to come. I spent much of my time in the medical library. I searched and searched for studies to back up my own ideas — that loving touch, and specifically massage — would be an incredible gift for a new baby and his/her parents.
There was very little research on humans, but there was a wealth of information about mammals, which I thought could be linked to humans. I discovered Ashley Montague’s incredible book, Touching, and it confirmed everything I had been thinking. In many studies with various species of animal, the same type of study yielded the same result. Group A would be the animals left alone in groups with no interaction, removed from their mothers, isolated except for other animals; they would attack and bite each other and researchers who tried to move them. Group B would be the animals living with their mothers with freedom to nurse and the only intervention by humans would be loving touch, stroking, fondling, and singing to them every day, from the beginning. The Group A animals were skinny and anxious; they fought and lived shorter lives. Group B animals grew larger and healthier. They were close to others near them, and they responded positively to touch and handling by researchers.
Ready to have my first baby, I had learned that “bonding” was an important part of healthy, happy parent-baby life, so I decided to include its elements — skin-to-skin contact, eye-to-eye-contact, loving speech and singing. Massage, including these elements and more, would be a part of our everyday life.
I developed a routine, combining what I knew of yoga postures, adult massage (learned from my massage therapist friends) and Indian baby massage, all emphasizing the loving attachment flowing between us.