Dr. Frederick Leboyer was the first physician to challenge society's deeply held beliefs about awareness in the newborn. His pioneering works on birthing, including “Birth Without Violence”, have forever revolutionized the course of prenatal care and the way babies are introduced to the world. He also pioneered introducing infant massage to the Western world.
Frederick Leboyer first visited India in 1959 and spent two months of every year there in the following two decades. He developed a keen interest in yoga and its applications for pregnant women and new mothers, particularly the use of breathing and sound.
In Frederick’s book “Loving Hands”, he details the techniques of infant massage and throughout the book follows a young mother, Shantala. He first met, observed and photographed her with her baby outside a hostel in Calcutta. He says, “I stopped short, struck by what I was witnessing: In the midst of filth and misery, a spectacle of purest beauty. A silent dialogue of love between a mother and her baby.” There he learned how to use the flowing rhythms of the art of baby massage to communicate love and strength to infants.
Frederick Leboyer, through these two books and other publications, has contributed, perhaps more than anyone else in the twentieth century, that the emotional environment of birth has a profound impact and life-long effects on everyone.
Dr. Frederick Leboyer states, “Being touched and caressed, being massaged, is food for the infant.
Food as necessary as minerals, vitamins, and proteins. Deprived of this food, the name of which is love, babies would rather die. And they often do.”
The art of infant massage has been practiced throughout the ages in India as a sacred art, handed down from generation to generation, from grandmother to mother to daughter. This form of massage can be traced to its origin in Kerala in the South of India.
Frederick Leboyer Books
- Leboyer Frederick. Birth Without Violence. Date Published: 1975
- Leboyer Frederick. Loving Hands: The Traditional Indian Art of Baby Massage. Date Published: 1976
- Leboyer Frederick. Inner Beauty, Inner Light. Date Published: 1978
- Leboyer Frederick. Shantala
- Leboyer Frederick. The Art of Breathing. Date Published: 1991
- Frederick Leboyer, Peter Lorie, Joseph Chilton Pearce, George Meredith.
The Wonder of Childhood: Recaptured
“Yes, we should not forget that the five senses are one. And all of them extensions of the skin”
- Frederick Leboyer
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