Massage therapy by mothers and trained professionals enhances weight gain in preterm infants

Sari Goldstein Ferber, Jacob Kuint, Aron Weller, Ruth Feldman, Shaul Dollberg, Eliana Arbel, David Kohelet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Background: The method of "massage therapy" has consistently shown increased weight gain in preterm infants. The weight gain was apparent during massages administered by professionals. Aims: To replicate the results of increased weight gain in the course of "massage therapy" in preterm infants, and utilize a new, cost-effective application of this method by comparing maternal to nonmaternal administration of the therapy. Study design: Random cluster design. Subjects: The study comprised 57 healthy, preterm infants assigned to three groups: two treatment groups - one in which the mothers performed the massage, and the other in which a professional female figure unrelated to the infant administered the treatment. Both these groups were compared to a control group. Results: Over the 10-day study period, the two treatment groups gained significantly more weight compared to the control group (291.3 and 311.3 vs. 225.5 g, respectively). Calorie intake/kg did not differ between groups. Conclusions: Mothers are able to achieve the same effect size as that of trained professionals, allowing cost-effective application of the treatment within the neonatal intensive care unit.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalEarly Human Development
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 2002


  • Massage therapy
  • Premature infants
  • Weight gain


Dive into the research topics of 'Massage therapy by mothers and trained professionals enhances weight gain in preterm infants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this