Seeing your baby walking for the first time is a wonderful sight! Those first steps to becoming a toddler. In my clinic, I often work with parents whose toddlers have issues with balance, standing and walking. The following is a typical story outlining the problem - how we approached it - and the results!
Marian brought her 15 month baby Kevin to my Healthy Baby Clinic because he wasn’t walking yet. Although she was aware that children reached this milestone at different ages - her main concern was that Kevin was becoming very frustrated in his attempt to walk.
He had been standing with support but wasn’t steady on his feet. He seemed prone to stumbling and often fell. Marian felt this lack of balance was the real problem underlying his lack of mobility. I checked that she had first visited her doctor and she assured me that she had - in fact she went on to explain that Kevin had been experiencing re-occurring ear infections and had just finished an antibiotic.
While he was now symptom-free, he did rub his ears from time to time as if they still bothered him. He found hats uncomfortable and removed them when possible. We also had a quick chat about Kevin’s birth and other health issues to date.
Having completed the screening form, we got Kevin settled on the treatment couch . Mum took off his shoes - and he was happy. Mum was seated close by, reading his favourite Thomas the tank engine book.
I began the craniosacral treatment with a very light touch (about 5 grams) on his lower back. As the treatment progressed I checked for areas of discomfort along the spine and head. Not surprisingly Kevin did not want me to touch his head and found the lightest touch over his ears distressing. This area was very restricted and would not allow for free movement of the ear (temporal) bones or the membrane lining the bone.How does it work?
While working I find it’s helpful to explain to the mums just what’s happening to their babies. I explained that when we are healthy there is a particular movement in the body. This subtle movement is felt by the therapist in bones, organs, tissue and fluids of the body.
The craniosacral therapist focuses especially on cerebrospinal fluid movement. This fluid bathes your spine and brain. When an area of the body is healthy this fluid pulsates, and when there is restriction (as in Kevin’s case around his ears) the fluid movement is stopped. My job is to assist the baby in releasing any area of discomfort and so allow healthy movement throughout the system.
As the treatments progressed Kevin began to feel more comfortable and allowed me to work directly on all the cranial (head) bones. We then concentrated on the membrane under the bone and the cranial nerves travelling through this membrane, especially the nerve that helped Kevin to find his balance. After this treatment his reported that he was much steadier on his feet and stumbled less.
We continued with treatments periodically as his mum now understood that this treatment could help with the drainage from his ears and so prevent a re-occurrence of ear infections. During one treatment, while working on Kevin’s left hip, his mum suddenly remembered that he had not used this hip when crawling and tended to drag this leg rather than bend this left knee and cross crawl.
So, Kevin is now free of the symptoms he displayed when he first came to the clinic. He has moved on to a maintenance programme. This means that he returns to the clinic for a session every few months or whenever his mum feels he needs a craniosacral session. The signs to look out for that might indicate the need for a treatment in Kevin’s case would be if he started rubbing his ears again, didn’t like having his head rubbed, wearing hats or having his hair washed.
The last time I saw Kevin he came running into the clinic. The healthy baby is now a healthy toddler!