Baby Kalin Gordon doesn't have much to be stressed about. But his mother, Bridget, spent an hour Tuesday morning giving him a massage.
"It's a good bonding thing between him and me," Gordon said. "I've read that it's great for circulation and breathing. He loves being touched, and I love touching him, so it works out great."
Gordon plans to enroll with her monthold son in an infant massage and communication class this spring at Western Nevada Community College.
Massage therapist Margie Brand will teach the class beginning Jan. 21.
"It teaches the importance of holding your baby, instead of letting them cry," Brand said. "If they're crying, they're crying for a reason. They're trying to communicate with you."
She spent most of her adult life in accounting. She also suffered from migraine headaches and looked to massage for relief.
"It really helped me, and I just wanted to provide that for other people," she said.
Although Brand had been interested in massage for about 10 years, she was reluctant to forsake the job security she'd built in accounting.
About 2 1/2 years ago, she made the leap.
"It's been an awesome career change for me," she said. "It's just incredible."
A year later, a friend approached her about massaging his infant son, Zachary.
As Brand discovered the benefits of infant massage, she decided to become a licensed instructor.
She teaches private sessions at her Chi Therapeutic Massage office, 755 N. Roop St., Suite 110, and plans to teach three five-week sessions at the college.
Brand welcomed Gordon and her baby into a candle-lit room with soft music playing in the background Tuesday morning.
Gordon laid her baby on a pillow and followed Brand's instructions, who demonstrated on a doll named Zachary -- after the first infant she massaged.
Brand showed Gordon how to massage Kalin's legs, beginning at the hips and rubbing down to the feet.
"It stimulates all those joints and muscles. It gets the blood circulating," Brand said.
She said it is especially beneficial for premature babies who have spent time in intensive care.
"It teaches them the difference between the horrible touch they needed in the hospital and good touch," she said.
Additionally, the massage stimulates a baby's lungs, helps digestion, and can ease colic.
However, Brand stressed it cannot replace medicine.
"This never takes the place of a doctor," she said. "It's a very natural form of helping them develop, but it never replaces doctor visits. It goes in conjunction with that."
Brand suggested Gordon maintain eye contact with her baby throughout the session.
She said she will guide a parent's hands in a particular movement, but not take control of the massage.
"The whole thing is for them to bond with their baby, not for the baby to bond with the massage therapist," she said.
She also encourages fathers to attend massage sessions.
"Moms get to have a natural bonding, especially if they breast feed," Brand said. "This really helps dads to get that bonding, too."
Other new courses for the spring semester include a self-hypnosis and a world film class.
-- The class will meet Tuesdays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the High Tech Center at Carson High School. For information, call the college's community education office at 887-3113, or register at www.wncc.edu.
For information about infant massage or to schedule private sessions, call 841-1774.