First-time mother, Wendy Zalles, wanted her healthy six-month old son Levi, to be relaxed and peaceful as she was after having the benefit of a massage, so she brought him to Robert Toporek, author of The New Book of Baby and Child Massage. What Wendy discovered is that babies, experience stress as early as their first minutes of life, and they receive relief through the power of touch. Researchers are finding that daily infant massage may promote better sleeping, relieve colic, and even enhance the immune system, motor skills, and intellectual development.
Toporek is a Guest Seminar Leader for Landmark Education, an author and an advanced Rolfing Practitioner (a specific massage technique). Rolfing is a form of deep tissue bodywork that brings new alignment by releasing and reorganizing the connective tissue in relationship to gravity. As a result, people stand straighter, gain height, and move with ease.
Toporek has Rolfed hundreds of children and has also helped many brain-injured children and babies improve posture, self expression and well being. Rolfing allows babies, to release traumas held in their bodies so that they grow into their full potential with ease and grace.
Wendy wanted to see for herself how the Rolfing process could help Levi. After Levi’s first Rolfing session Wendy noticed distinct improvements. First, while nursing, Levi melted in her arms. His body was free from all tension and stress. Wendy was excited and amazed how pleasant that nursing session was, and continues to be.
Next, Levi started crawling the very next day. There was a newfound freedom to his movements. His lower body seemed perfectly coordinated with his upper body. He sat up straighter and longer than ever before.
Each Rolfing session provided new treasures for Levi and Wendy. Over the course of the year, Levi became more vocal and communicative. His sleeping patterns improved, his motor skills sharpened, and he became more sociable. As a result, their lives transformed.
During this process, Wendy took on learning the massage techniques outlined in Toporek’s book, and spent 2-5 minutes a day massaging Levi. Wendy got to know her son better, by reading his body cues and feeling his breathing patterns. Also, by seeing Levi’s stress get stroked away, she bonded with him on a deeper level. She discovered a new smile – such as the times she intertwined her fingers with his. “I’m passionate about babies experiencing nurturing touch. The earlier, the better.” said Wendy.
Wendy was eager to share her positive experience with other mothers. She began hosting workshops using Toporek’s book as a reference guide, to teach parents about infant massage benefits and how to massage their babies. In this quarter of Landmark Education’s Team Management and Leadership Program, Wendy created multiple teams to educate and train parents, grandparents, and relatives, and has expanded out into the caregiver world; training nannies, babysitters, doulas, early childhood facilities, and even got in the syllabus for a college course on elementary education. Team members share Wendy’s passion, and continue to work together in giving babies the best beginnings of life.
There are currently hundreds of babies and families benefiting from the nurturing touch of massage. Wendy sees this as merely a beginning of discovering what’s possible – throughout the Philadelphia area, the Americas, and world-wide. Wendy suggests investing 5 minutes a day to give babies health, happiness, and an
To learn more about the Super Babies project, go to www.teamchildren.com or email workoutwithwendy@ yahoo.com.
Team Member: Wendy Zalles
Game: Super Bebés
Written by Djuna Wojton
Edited by Shash Broxson