Before looking at Craniosacral Therapy for Children, I'd like to point out the following distinction:
Within my practice and for the purpose of this description, I refer to CranioSacral Therapy for Children as being for ages one to nine. I cover babies and infants (up to age one) seperately. There are a number of differences in the approach to treatment.
Above age nine – the treatment of children is the same as the treatment of adults using CranioSacral Therapy. However, I do insist on a guardian being with all children and teenagers up to age sixteen.
Adaptability by the therapist is probably the most important thing when treating all children. There are many ways which I need to adapt my techniques to treat these little ones effectively.
Children may prefer to be close to their caregiver and so their treatment may take place either lying down, in a chair or if it’s a toddler I often find myself following them around the room and waiting for an opportunity to get my hands on them! Having some colourful toys, storybooks or jigsaws in my therapy room keeps the child’s interest and this allows more hands-on time with the little client.
An awareness of childhood development has given me a greater understanding of their world. With very young children they will be happy to receive my touch if the adult present is happy with this situation and I sometimes begin the treatment by indirectly treating through the adult. This gives the child a deeper sense of security and they are then more open to the work.
If we understand the process of fetal development and the child’s birth experience we can better treat them when our touch elicits a flight/fright response in our young clients. By listening carefully to the Craniosacral rhythm I can tell whether my touch is working therapeutically or invasively.
I find that the family dynamic is important when I treat children. The child’s perception and emotional and psychological development is linked to that of his/her family. As therapists we need to acknowledge this bond and work with it to help support the child’s development.
I have found in treating children that they “look” for permission from the adult present before continuing the work and sometimes the child/infant is willing to work through an issue but the adult present stops the process. So in treating infants/children I am conscious of treating more than just one client at a time.
Another aspect to bear in mind in treating children is that there are some techniques that are helpful to teach the parents or caregiver e.g. cranial base release. They can then repeat these techniques as necessary between treatments at home (especially for conditions that require ongoing management such as Asthma in Children).
As a guideline I would treat children for 45 minutes max. (or 50 minutes for infants). This time scale may vary depending on the child.
Finally, it is possible to do too much in a treatment young children and this can lead to over stimulation of the flight and fright response in the body. I find that I need to stay alert for “I have had enough!" signals especially when treating children.
Treating Tension Headaches in Children: Over the past two years, I have noticed an increase of chronic tension headaches in young children at my clinic. Parents often bring their children to see me when all other avenues are exhausted. They have been through the formal medical system – but achieved no positive results. Jack's parents brought him to see me when they faced this situation.
Read more about Tension Headaches in Children