In many South Asian countries, it is standard practise to massage an infant and the new mother. It’s been a well-established fact for centuries that massaging the infant has a number of health benefits. However, what has always been up for debate is which benefits are greater – whether it’s mineral oil or virgin coconut oil for the skin of the baby.
Recent discoveries that have brought to light the benefits of virgin coconut oil have put this debate to rest. Here is a list of the benefits of massages and of virgin coconut oil for the skin of your baby.
Benefits of Massage with Virgin Coconut Oil for Skin of Your Baby
- Protection against infections: Virgin coconut oil for skin care has been prescribed by Ayurveda. The antimicrobial fatty acids in the oil help keep the skin disease-free, help alleviate symptoms of skin disorders, and create an antibacterial shield for the body.
This benefits new-born babies and especially premature babies who need as much protection against infection as possible. Contrast this with mineral oil and you only get half the benefits. Mineral oil does create a protective layer for the skin but doesn’t offer the antimicrobial protection that virgin coconut oil does.
- Improves Circulation: A full body massage helps stimulate the nerves and improve the blood circulation in the body. Because this effect is purely mechanical in nature, the oil used does not make a difference. However, since mineral oil is a petroleum by-product, it tends to clog pores. On the other hand, using virgin coconut oil for skin massages results in the shorter chained fatty acids being absorbed by the body. This allows the skin to breathe better.
- Promotes healthy bone density: The Ayurveda system recommends massages for babies because it helps improve the bone density of the infant. While it is once more the mechanical action of the massage that helps, virgin coconut oil is again better than mineral oil. The reason for this is that coconut oil is an excellent natural ‘carrier’ oil that allows vitamins and minerals for healthy bones to be absorbed. Furthermore, the lauric acid present in it enables absorption of fatty acids that can assist in the growth of the baby.
What all this means is that when you use virgin coconut oil for skin massages instead of mineral oil, you are getting the additional nutritional benefits that you would not with mineral oil.
Additional Benefits of Using Virgin Coconut Oil for Skin Massages for Babies
There are, in fact, some additional benefits of using virgin coconut oil for massaging the skin of babies that mineral oils don’t provide. These are:
- Virgin coconut oil acts as a coolant and helps in thermoregulation in infants. This is especially beneficial for babies in hot tropical countries. This is something that mineral oil doesn’t do.
- Because it is skin-friendly and natural, virgin coconut oil doesn’t irritate the skin the way some mineral oils do. Because babies are extremely sensitive, this is something that every parent should consider very carefully.
- Virgin coconut oil promotes weight gain in infants. This is especially true in the case of pre-term babies because of the natural nutrients that virgin coconut oil contains. There is no such advantage when using mineral oils.
- It is quite obvious that while using mineral oil is not harmful, using virgin coconut oil for skin massages gives your baby significantly more benefits. Massaging is a great way for parents to bond with their babies through touch therapy. Fortunately, there’s no reason why your baby can’t benefit from additional health advantages of virgin coconut oil.
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Photo credits: CocoVeda and Pixabay