Research at the University of Miami School of Medicine suggests that [infant] massage can stimulate nerves in the brain that facilitate food absorption, resulting in faster weight gain. Massage can lower stress hormones, resulting in improved immune function. Touch therapy can also help premature infants gain weight faster, asthmatic children improve breathing function, diabetic children comply with treatment, and sleepless babies fall asleep more easily. Other research indicates that touch therapy can benefit infants and children with eczema and can improve parent-baby interactions. ... An added plus to infant massage is the opportunity it provides for the father, especially of a breastfed baby, to have positive interaction with his child.
Source: McClure, V. (2000). Infant massage: A handbook for loving parents (3rd rev. ed.). New York: Bantam Books. p. xvi, xix