How the International Association of Infant Massage Began...
Massaging babies is a tradition that exists in many cultures across the globe but is something that had been sadly neglected in the west. It took the vision and persistence of a woman called Vimala McClure to reintroduce this wonderful gift. Vimala learned of infant massage while she worked in India during the 1970s. She saw mothers in even the most poverty-stricken areas giving their babies massage as part of their daily routine. This positive touch allowed the babies to experience tremendous love and a sense of security that is sometimes lacking in our society.
Vimala returned to America and became a mother herself. She recalled the power of massage and designed a sequence of strokes specifically for babies. They were based on the strokes she had observed in India, with the addition of some Swedish massage, reflexology and yoga. She practised on her own children and saw how positively they responded to massage. It helped the babies to stay relaxed and happy as well as having physical benefits and Vimala found that it enhanced her communication with her children.
She started to share the massage with other parents and the word spread until, following repeated requests from childcare educators, she devised and led courses to train them to teach these skills to parents with young children.
The I.A.I.M. was founded by Vimala McClure in 1981 with the help of the first group of instructors she had trained. From these beginnings the I.A.I.M. rapidly spread across the world and now has instructors in over 30 countries. The IAIM carries on Vimala’s vision that infant massage will become a parenting tradition throughout the world community.
The Irish Chapter of I.A.I.M
Baby Massage Ireland (BMI) is the Irish Chapter of The International Association of Infant Massage (I.A.I.M.) and came into being in September 2001 thanks to the vision and passion of Kirsty Hawthorn. Kirsty had already trained in England under the international trainer Mia Elmsater and was so impressed with the programme that she wanted to support its expansion.
From that first training held in Kinsale, we now facilitate several trainings across Ireland each year, some of which Kirsty herself teaches. In 2003, Baby Massage Ireland was declared an official corporation and qualified for charity status.
In 2011, Gail Bovenizer completed her studies with IAIM and joined Kirsty to became the second IAIM Instructor Trainer within Ireland. It is important to note that Baby Massage Ireland is the Irish Chapter of the International Association of Infant Massage and therefore anyone wishing to become a member of Baby Massage Ireland must have completed the IAIM Training Course with a registered IAIM Instructor Trainer.
Today Baby Massage Ireland has a nationwide network of CIMIs who offer classes for parents and caregivers in both group settings and one-on-one. The recognition of the benefits of infant massage growing all the time and Baby Massage Ireland is proud to have classes by our instructors refunded by some of the Health Insurance companies.