Founders and Faculty
Master trainer of instructors Maria Mathias, an early pioneer in the field of Infant Touch and Massage, 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 by Vimala McClure and Audrey Downes in 1980) and has been facilitating family-centered touch and massage for 34 years. In the 80s, 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 facilitated instructor trainings that introduced infant touch and massage in Australia and in Italy. Since 2005 she has been facilitating annual trainings in Taiwan and Seoul, South Korea.

Maria began training infant massage instructors in 1984, training nearly seven thousand instructors over the course of her 34 year career in infant touch and massage. 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. She has worked in the special care nurseries with families of infants who are critically ill, and biologically and environmentally at-risk. She also participates 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 over three 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.

Click to see Maria's CV

Wayne Mathias, MS has been a certified infant massage instructor since 1986. During that time, while managing the administrative affairs of The International Institute of Infant Massage, he created experiential inputs and assisted at instructor trainings and continuing education offerings, becoming a trainer of instructors in 2005. Wayne has facilitated infant massage classes for fathers and their babies at the Father and Family Center in Albuquerque, as well as piloting an infant massage program for incarcerated young men and their babies. His many contributions have included years of consulting with instructors, as well as creating infant massage materials and writing articles to increase public awareness of touch and massage.

Our Faculty
The faculty of the International Institute of Infant Massage is comprised of accomplished professionals in Infant Touch and Massage and related fields of family-centered intervention.
Ginny Laadt, Ph.D. OTR/L, Occupational Therapist
Dr. Laadt recently has relocated to Denver, Colorado from Albuquerque, New Mexico where she was founding director of the Developmental Care Program within the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Department of Pediatrics, Neonatology Division and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. Her clinical, educational, and research activities center around newborns and infants who are considered to be "at-risk", and their families, with special focus on program development, individualized infant neurobehavioral assessment, preventive interventions and promoting infant-family well-being. Her Ph.D. in Biobehavioral Ecology Anthropology provides Dr. Laadt with unique insights regarding family/infant relationships. She is primary author of the NICU SORT (System of Risk Triage) process that guides staff and services allocation to address longitudinal neurobehavioral and family issues in the NICU, home, and community and has participated in state and national committees, including the American Occupational Therapy Association NICU Task Force for national occupational therapy standards in neonatology.
Barbara Woodward MPH, OTR/L Occupational Therapist
Barbara has worked with infants and toddlers with or at risk for having special needs and their families for the past 20 years. Her primary focus has been in the promotion of health and developmental outcomes with infants who are medically fragile or born preterm. Her Masters in Public Health, with an emphasis in Maternal and Child Health has helped Barbara to shape and develop programs that emphasize preventive intervention measures that help families to develop competence in caring for and promoting developmental progress in their infants. She currently works for The Children’s Hospital of Denver and has developed an NICU transition program, assisting families from all Level III nurseries in Denver to make the transition from hospital to home.

Braulio Montalvo, MA
(Our great friend who inspired us and many of our students
for many years, died on March 21, 2014 in Albuquerque)

For more than 35 years, Braulio had been a pioneer in enhancing understanding of families with multiple problems through educating the professionals who serve them. He was a cultural and psychosocial consultant for the Developmental Care Program at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology. The recipient of the 1994 Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Family Therapy Association for his contributions to theory and practice, Braulio was co-author of (Families of the Slums: An Exploration of their Structure) and (Treatment and Difficult Divorce: Therapy for Children and Families). He did his pre-doctoral work in Developmental Psychology and held an MA in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University Teachers College and a BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico.

Crystal Hui-Man (Crystal) Lai, MED
We are pleased to introduce Hui-Man (Crystal) Lai, MED from Hsinchu, Taiwan as our representative for the Great China Area including mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Ms. Lai has organized and carried out workshops and lecture engagements on behalf of our Institute since 2005. She has been invaluable in helping to create and maintain the peer review process to certify Infant Touch and Massage Instructors for our Institute in Taiwan.
Her best - selling book in Taiwan and Mainland China “Infant Massage – Raising a Happy and Healthy Baby”, is the first ground-breaking Chinese language book that has brought attention to the public, families and professionals regarding infant touch and massage.  She also has translated into Chinese “The Breastfeeding Book: Everything You Need to Know about Nursing Your Child from Birth through Weaning” (Sears 2000), plus reviewed Chinese translations of many well - known English language books and manuscripts.
Crystal has worked with infants and toddlers and their families for over 20 years. She received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Missouri, USA in 1995.  She has been certified as a Montessori Teacher from birth to 6, breastfeeding educator and infant massage instructor through the International Association of Infant Massage, and the International Institute of Infant Massage.
Arlinda Michael RN, BSN
Arlinda Michael has been a trainer assistant for the International Institute of Infant Massage since 2002, assisting with hospital sponsored trainings for nurses and other interdisciplinary team members. She is the owner of Baby Joy Services since 2000, which is a private nursing practice supporting successful breastfeeding and the promotion of healthy touch in families through the use of infant massage. She was a staff nurse at Women's Health, St. David's Medical Center, Austin, TX, 1993 to 2004. She was also a member of Parent Education Team with experience teaching in infant massage, childbirth, breastfeeding, and baby care. Arlinda is currently a staff nurse at Meriter Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin.
Kim Willard, PT
Kim Willard has been a practicing physical therapist for the past 20 years. She has worked in a variety of pediatric rehabilitation hospitals, early intervention programs, and neonatal intensive care units. She currently works part time for the Developmental Care Department of the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, providing consultative services for families with children birth through three who are biologically at-risk. She is a mom of three young boys.
Jean Anne Zollars, MA, PT
Jean Anne Zollars received her BS in physical therapy from Ithaca College in 1982, and Master of Arts from San Francisco State University in Rehabilitation Technology in 1992. She has worked as a physical therapist in the United States as well as Malaysia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala and Russia. Her work with children who have neurological problems led to her interest in craniosacral therapy, myofascial release, and visceral manipulation. Currently, she in private practice in Albuquerque, NM treating adults, children, and infants utilizing various forms of manual therapies.







Maggie Wille, OT Healing Touch Practitioner, Health&
Wellness/Holistic Therapies Counselor

Maggie has been an assistant trainer with the International Institute of Infant Massage since 2001. She is currently on Staff at Abbott-Northwestern Hospital as a Parent Educator, teaching a variety of classes including Infant Massage, and providing Newborn Education support for New Parents within the first three days of life. Maggie works closely with families during pregnancy and through the early childhood years. As the owner of Morning Star Touch O' Health, Inc., which promotes Health & Wellness by partnering with families and providing a variety of supportive education, Maggie has made Infant and Child massage the foundation of her practice.

Annette Kohn-Lau has been an infant massage instructor for 12 years, specializing in working with families who have infants and children with special needs. Since 1979, Annette has served as a pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist at Lutheran General Hospital, where she teaches infant massage and participates on a neonatal follow-up team. Currently pursuing a degree in Naturopathy, she is a Reiki Master-Teacher and Transformational Reiki Master in private practice in Northbrook, Illinois.





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