The First Touch program is the new name of infant massage courses delivered by instructors certified by the International Association of Infant Massage (IAIM), Australia.
The First Touch program as a name for the IAIM’s parent education course comes some 36 years after Vimala McClure trained a small number of mothers and health workers to deliver a tiny education program that she believed helped parents and babies through touch. Way back in 1976 it is unlikely that Vimila would have foreseen that “infant massage” would become a world-wide phenomenon, used for both pleasure and as a mental health intervention amongst hundreds of thousands of parents every year.
The growing awareness of the benefits of Infant Massage education is something of a double-edged sword for families and professionals alike. On the one hand, the importance of healthy, respectful and nurturing touch between parents and babies is an extremely vital message to promote.
On the other hand, however, many of the new programs do not reflect the same approaches and conditions that have been used in the available research. Likewise, there are very few ways in which parents, workers or services can distinguish between infant massage education and information that is of high quality, versus that which is low, or unknown, quality.
To address this issue, IAIM Australia has now launched a new name for the infant massage education program delivered by IAIM Infant Massage Instructors. The First Touch Program is a unique program, incorporating all guidelines, recommendations and evidence-supported standards of the IAIM.