Craniosacral Osteopathy for babies
Our guest post this week is from Geoffrey Wattine, our Craniosacral Osteopath. While Geoffrey treats many adults he is also specially qualified to treat babies and young children (pregnant ladies too!). This week Geoffrey talks about how treatment works for babies, even just as they arrive!
Osteopathy is very beneficial for babies. During birth the baby passes through the pelvis and the head suffers compression. After birth a natural phase of decompression takes place through which the baby´s skull bones go back to their normal position.
Sometimes this decompression phase is not completed properly, especially if the birth was either unusually fast or long or if forceps or a vacuum was used. In these cases although the head may look symmetrical the compression may still be present. In this instance the baby usually cries, will be irritated, has sleeping problems, breastfeeding difficulties or constipation among other symptoms.
Why can skull compression affect a newborn so much?
In between the baby’s skull there are cranial nerves that are connected to the organs. If the compression is still present after birth these nerves can be irritated by the bones affecting the physiology of the organs and creating problems.
Each cranial nerve has a different function and each one is extremely important. For example, the correct function of the 5 senses is involved, movement of the eye, the tongue, the facial muscles, etc. One nerve is connected to the lungs, the heart and the gastro-intestinal system, thus we can see that only one irritated nerve can result in complications.
The osteopath intervenes decompressing the skull bones of the baby’s head using light, gentle and precise manipulations, helping with the disappearance of the symptoms.
Also, pregnancy and childbirth can be very stressful for some mothers and any stress experienced by the mother will be experienced with the same intensity by the baby. The baby’s nervous system registers it and memorizes it. This memory can affect the baby’s wellbeing, perhaps causing light sleep (any noise can keep him awake) or cause tension in the diaphragm which will not allow the baby to nourish properly. In this case the task of the osteopath is to liberate the information stored in the baby’s nervous system.
Can there be a reaction to the treatment?
The reactions to the treatment can be different due to the fact that each baby is unique. Sometimes the baby could be irritated for a couple of days following the treatment but generally the baby calms down after this time.
How many treatments?
The consultation is usually one hour. The number of treatments varies but in general would be between 2 and 5 sessions, depending on the tension in the tissues and the baby’s age. As a general rule each baby should have a session as soon as possible after birth.
Also a parent stressed by work or by other circumstances can affect the baby’s wellbeing without realizing it. In this case, the treatment will be done to one, or both, of the parents in order to help the baby.