Mothers and babies
Craniosacral Therapy is a very gentle and effective form of therapy for
both mothers and babies.
Craniosacral Therapy can help with the body changes of pregnancy. Old
and new discomforts may appear which can be alleviated and released in
order for the mother's body to be in the best condition for birth. After
birth, Craniosacral Therapy can help as the mother's body returns to its
non-pregnant condition, and particularly if the birth has been difficult
or there have been complications or difficult interventions. It works
with the innate intelligence of the body to help the the body to do
wants to do in its process of preparation and recovery.
An easy gestation and a natural birth are the best start that a baby can
have in the world.
Unfortunately, not every birth is ideal for a wide variety of reasons, and
even before birth a baby may have had difficult experiences in the womb or
have been quite compressed in the last days before birth.
Whilst the baby's body is well designed to manage the range of compressive
forces of a natural birth, larger compressive forces can be harder
for the baby's body to recover from. Often the work of a Craniosacral
Therapist is involved in helping the baby's body to recover and release
the compressive forces that they have been unable to completely resolve
naturally. These compressions can impact normal functioning in a
variety of ways, for example compressions at the base of the head can
affect the ears and the nerves that affect breathing and digestion.
If a baby cries all the time or is unhappy, then there is usually a
good reason and generally parents sense this. Because the baby cannot
speak, it is often difficult to determine what the cause might be. If
medical causes are ruled out then Craniosacral Therapy is a good avenue to
explore. The therapist is able to feel how well the baby's body is
expressing the cranial movements, which for a baby should be full and
easy. The therapist can feel what areas of the baby's body are affected
and can work to help these compressions release thus relieving pressure on
nerves, increasing the fluid movement through the area, and letting the
express the cranial movement more freely again. The parent will see
whether the treatment is making a difference through their sense of their
baby's wellbeing and its state of ease and happiness. Babies generally
need only a small number of sessions as their bodies express vitality more
fully than in an adult. Craniosacral Therapy may be applicable to a
wide range of conditions through the removal of impediments to the
free movement of air/fluid/food through the baby's body and
by releasing pressure on nerves and organ systems.
Colic affects up to 20% of babies and can be
very upsetting to both baby and parents. I recommend a dual approach to
managing colic; 1) having cranial work and 2) looking at the baby's
- Cranial work
Cranial work is particularly helpful where there has been a difficult
or traumatic birth. It helps reduce the stresses retained in the
baby's body and nervous system and helps compressed and mis-aligned
structures return to their optimum positions. This generally has
the effect of simplifying the difficult situation, may well
reduce the colic and often helps with the bonding between mother and
baby. The NHS Clinical Knowledge Summaries website on colic in-depth
supporting evidence page notes a study from 2006 "Does
osteopathy help in infantile colic?" New Zealand:
Complementary and Alternative Medicine. www.cam.org.nz.
which concluded that "A significant reduction in inconsolable crying
and significant increase in the total hours sleeping was seen in those
infants treated with cranial osteopathy."
- The links below give a good coverage of diet and other aspects of colic.
- The Bupa page Infant
colic - the causes, symptoms and treatments is a good place to
- The NHS Clinical Knowledge Summaries website on colic in-depth
supporting evidence includes evidence that adopting
a hypoallergenic approach to feeding may have a significant effect for
both breast-fed and bottle -fed babies
- The Breastfeeding Network has a leaflet Treatments
for Colic - Assessing the Evidence which
covers the research evidence for management and types of treatment.
They note that "Colic inducing foods are different for different
infants, the most likely foods to cause colic are given as: cruciferous
vegetable (such as cauliflower), onions, cow’s milk and chocolate and
less likely with beans, legumes, spicy foods and caffeine’. An
association with diet drinks have also been found."
- The above leaflet refers to A
Systematic Review of Treatments for Infant Colic which was done by Pediatrics and is indicative of taking a hypoallergenic approach for both breast and bottle
- Jane's Breastfeeding resources has
a useful article on Colic in the Breastfed Baby
- The Baby Centre also has
a colic page
Flat head syndrome (Plagiocephaly and Brachycephaly)
An increasing number of babies have flattened heads and this can be a
concern to parents. Here is a useful
summary page from the NHS.
Cranial work helps take strains out of the base of the head and helps
release restrictions that impede the head returning to a normal
shape. The article mentions cranial bands/helments. There are both
"active" and "passive" cranial bands/helmets.
"Passive" cranial bands are slower acting and the shape correction is left more to the babies own
body. Cranial work would help that process by releasing any
restrictions in the head and neck as the head shape normalises.
The Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics has a 2009
review paper covering the research into the effectiveness of cranial
Headstart for babies is a
parent initiated charity whose aim is to increase awareness of this
Osteopathic and Craniosacral baby and birth sites
- UK sites
- Babywellbeing a Scottish initiative to spread awareness of the value of cranial work for babies.
- Cranial Osteopathy for Babies and Children from the Sutherland Society - a good overview of the problems that cranial work can help with in babies
- Birth Trauma a description of the difficulties that can arise in birth and some of the consequences.
- UK Clinics
- Osteopathic Centre for Children
- The Fountain Clinic Craniosacral clinic in London for mothers, babies and families
- 'The Jeyarani Way' Gentle Birth Method
- UK general birth related sites
- The Pregnancy and Parent Centre/Birth Resource Centre in Edinburgh provides a resource for women and their partners
before and after childbirth
- Prenatal and Birth Therapy Healing our Earliest Wounds from Conception to Birth an article by Graham Kennedy on Ray Castellino's work
- AIMS Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
- Association of Radical Midwives
- Foresight pre-conceptual care.
- Cranial asymmetry as a
- The Osteopathic Center for Children Viola Frymann's Centre in San Diego with interesting articles.
- The Online Birth Center a site with many useful worldwide links
- Castellino Prenatal and Birth Therapy Training and BEBA [Building and Enhancing Bonding and Attachment]: A Center for Family Healing)
- Association for Pre & Perinatal Psychology and Health lots of interesting and thought provoking articles.
- Interesting Articles from Alliance for Transforming the Lives of Children.
- And really nice articles in Dr Sarah J Buckley's Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering site