Interventions that build upon the natural components of early mother-infant interactions are critical to reversing the sequelae of maternal substance abuse and breaking the cycle of addiction. One way that’s proven very effective in intercepting the pattern of chronic drug abuse in mothers is with infant massage.


In a recently-published article entitled, “How Infant Massage Class Helps Substance-Addicted Mothers,” the experts at Massage Magazine write:


“According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), 18 women die in the U.S. every day from prescription painkiller overdose, totaling up to more than 6,500 women each year,” adding that the CDC report also states that deaths from prescription painkiller overdose among women have increased more than 400 percent since 1999, compared to 265 percent among men.


“Further, pregnant women and mothers are increasingly turning to painkillers such as opioids; in fact, every 25 minutes an infant is born suffering from opioid withdrawal, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse,” they write.


Recent research indicates infant massage classes could have a positive effect on women struggling with substance abuse.


“A parenting class that included lessons on infant massage resulted in significantly reduced parenting stress, as well as decreased symptoms of depression, among substance-addicted mothers who were actively engaged in outpatient rehabilitation, according to recent research,” they write.


Massage Magazine says that the study, “Blended infant massage-parenting enhancing program on recovering substance-abusing mothers’ parenting stress, self-esteem, depression, maternal attachment and mother-infant interaction,” involved 138 substance-addicted mothers engaged in outpatient rehabilitation, along with their infants.


“The mother-infant pairs were randomly assigned to either the Infant Massage-Parenting Enhancement Program (IMPEP), the Parenting Enhancement Program (PEP) alone or a control group with standard parenting resources,” they write.


Massage Magazine says that results of the research revealed that, “[…]the mothers in both the IMPEP and PEP groups experienced significant decreases in parenting stress, as well as decreased symptoms of depression compared to the control group at week 12.”


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