Maria Mathias BA, Master Trainer of Instructors, was an early pioneer in the field of Infant Touch and Massage, and continues daily to pioneer innovations in the application of touch and massage for families. She attended the first infant massage instructor training in the US (facilitated in 1980 by Vimala McClure and Audrey Downes) and has been facilitating family-centered touch and massage for 40 years. In the 1980s Maria she was a pioneer in facilitating the first infant massage classes in hospitals, then facilitated the first infant massage fathering classes. Later in that decade, she introduced Infant Touch and Massage Instructor Trainings in Australia as well as in Italy. For a decade beginning in 2005 she facilitated annual Infant Touch & Massage Instructor Trainings in Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea.
Maria began training infant massage instructors in 1984, training more than seven thousand instructors over the course of her career. Since 1992 Maria has been an “Infant Massage Specialist” at the University of New Mexico Hospital Health Sciences Center, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, retiring from UNMH in 2015. She has worked in the special care nurseries with families of infants who are critically ill, and biologically and environmentally at-risk, as well as in a special baby follow-up clinic providing infant touch and massage instruction followed by home visitation services. Currently she also carries an infant touch and massage caseload as a developmental specialist, contracting with early intervention agencies to teach infant touch and massage to families in Albuquerque, NM.
For four decades Maria has been immersed in bringing infant touch and massage to thousands of families, which has provided her with the many experiences and insights to pioneer her therapeutic innovation of Individualized Touch and Massage, an approach that has distinguished infant touch and massage as an effective early intervention tool for promoting attachment and development.