Mothers and babies

Craniosacral Therapy is a very gentle and effective form of therapy for both mothers and babies.

For mothers

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.


For babies

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 baby's body 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.


Infant Colic

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 diet.

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. 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 start.
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 feeding.
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 bands/helmets.

Headstart for babies is a parent initiated charity whose aim is to increase awareness of this condition.


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 result of birth procedures
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

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