Premature babies and babies with special needs.
Premature babies are always so close to my heart as my nephew was born at 25 weeks in 1996 when I was 15. He is now a strapping teenager but I remember so vividly seeing his tiny, bird like body covered in tubes and wires and a tiny hat in what seemed like the biggest incubator ever. The nurses and doctors worked miracles and he has no health problems and we are blessed. The benefits of ‘kangaroo care’ (skin to skin contact) on the growth of prem babies are well documented and I see gentle massage as an extension of this. With all the tubes and needles, and the necessary medical intervention a fragile tiny baby has initially faced a great deal of negative touch so gentle stroking, touching, holding and feather light massaging will help to reverse this experience.
Special needs babies are obviously all different and it is beyond the scope of this piece to cover all conditions and how massage can help individual situations. I would advise talking to your consultant and discussing what is and is not suitable in your particular case. Particularly in the case of sensory deprivation the experience of touch brings great benefits as the other senses are heightened.
In summary I cannot imagine any circumstance where gentle touch and massage would not be beneficial.