CranioSacral Therapy for Infants and Toddlers.

Why CranioSacral Therapy for Infants and Toddlers?

Well, whatever your baby lacks in talking skills, she definitely makes up for by communicating in other ways!

CranioSacral Therapy for InfantsInfants and babies can’t help BUT communicate. They cry when they’re hungry, tired or just sore. Their discomfort comes through quickly in the forms of Infant Eczema, rash, Colic and many other “stay awake at night” types of symptoms (for both Baby and Parents!).




Some infants have had a comfortable and natural birth, and yet show some of the symptoms above. Other infants have worked their way through a lot of birth complications and show them too.



I have seen CranioSacral Therapy at its most effective when working on Infants, babies and toddlers - in other words as early as possible in the lives of your loved ones.



In this section I'd like to give some examples of approaches to infant health using CranioSacral Therapy for a variety of conditions. I have included articles on many different infant and newborn conditions at the end of this page - but first I'd like to run through some background as to how (and why) craniosacral therapy can be a very effective intervention to restore your baby's well-being.





Key Areas that Craniosacral Therapy Addresses
Some babies endure long and difficult births which necessitate the use of drugs to start or speed up labour. Many may then need intervention (vacuum, forceps or c-section) for their safe delivery.


CranioSacral Therapy for InfantsA baby’s head and body is adapted to compression during labour and indeed benefits from this pressure. What leads to difficulty, are the excessive forces of artificially-induced contractions or the use of medical instruments. These place overwhelming pressure on the delicate bones and membranes of the baby’s head and body. These interventions, while necessary for a baby’s safe delivery, can result in unwanted side effects which lead to a cranky and unsettled baby. The light touch of craniosacral therapy is appropriate and effective in relieving these compressions and allows the baby’s systems to balance and relax.



As a trained craniosacral therapist I address the following principal areas:

  • Cranial base: The area where the back of the neck meets the head, is an area that is most susceptible to distortion during birth. Compression in this area irritates the vagus nerve which provides the main parasympathetic nerve supply to the digestive organs. This nerve is responsible for the body’s ability to rest and digest. Its compression can lead to overstimulation of the nerve causing spasm of the digestive organs and, consequently, colic.


    Also located at the cranial base is the upper sympathetic ganglion. This nerve supply runs along the whole spine providing sympathetic nerve supply to the viscera. It seeks to close down digestion and close food pathways. Compression on this nerve causes restlessness, over-stimulation and hyperactivity. So, when both the nerves are restricted simultaneously the body is getting a mixed message to relax and be stimulated at the same time. The result is conflict, obstruction and spasm, and the many manifestations of colic.



  • CranioSacral Therapy for InfantsMouth, Neck and Shoulder Strain: In delivery the baby’s neck and shoulders may be forcibly rotated leading to soft tissue damage and strain. If there has been a strain on neck and mouth these nerves may become inflamed and irritated making sucking and feeding problematic. Many babies with colic are often suffering from irritation of the nerves of the neck and mouth. These babies have difficulty in latching on, will only use part of their mouths to suck, gulp their feed and pull suddenly off the breast. They will also show a preference in lying on one side and so favouring one breast.


    Working lightly with the bones of the upper palate frees up the mouth by releasing bony restrictions, relaxing muscle tension and facilitating nerve release. This improves the “suck, swallow, breathe” pattern for the baby and assists breastfeeding. Freeing up these strain patterns clears up wry neck (torticollis) and allows the baby to feed comfortable from each breast.



  • Overides: After vacumn or forceps delivery, or resulting from the position baby lay in the womb, babies may have pronounced bumps on their head. These are overrides where the underlying cranial membrane tension has caused the cranial bones to ride over each other. While many of these bumps disappear naturally, others need assistance to release the underlying tension that is holding the bones in an unnatural position.


    With very delicate techniques, the craniosacral therapist can palpate where the strain in the tissue lies and follow this strain pattern, sometimes travelling from the cranial membranes along the dural tube down the spine.



CranioSacral Therapy for InfantsRestoring the balance in the baby’s head and body is important for future health as craniosacral therapists note that these unresolved strain patterns in children lead on to overactive children ,who cannot sit still in school and may have learning difficulties. As babies their ability to fight infection, especially of the eye, ear and throat is compromised. Increased pressure on the temporal bones during delivery reduces the functioning of the Eustachian tube and hinders the ability of the sinuses and ears to drain mucus leading to re-occurring infections.





Key Conditions that Craniosacral Therapy Addresses
Any condition where the body’s self healing mechanism can be supported through improved fascial flexibility. That covers the majority of conditions that involve pain, restriction, increased susceptibility to infection, and poor circulation and breathing.

Early evaluation and treatment of newborns is recommended as colic, feeding difficulties and hyperactivity will often be quickly reduced or eliminated. Strains introduced before, during or shortly after birth are quickly eliminated which may otherwise lead on to later dysfunction which would take much more time with a less fluid and flexible mature adult.





Summary:
As craniosacral therapists we are concerned with evaluating and helping to restore the flexibility of the whole of the facial system. We gain insight into the body state through light touch and listening to the craniosacral rhythm. By listening and feeling this fascial wisdom we are taken to the deeper causes of pain and dysfunction instead of being distracted by symptoms and their apparent causes. Put simply, we treat as we find.





Further Articles on Treating Infant Conditions:



CranioSacral Therapy for InfantsThings to consider when treating an infant.
Infants need to be approached differently in a treatment session compared with children and adults. First and foremost, the therapist needs to be qualified and experienced when working with infants. Read more about what happens during an Infant treatment .





Share Your Story! Click here to let us know of your experiences with CST for your Infant or Toddler.






Stages of Infant Development.
It is useful to consider the majot stages of infant, baby and toddler development. In this section, I go through the major stages and consider the various complications that can arise at each milestone.
Read more about Stages of Infant Development



Infant Colic.
Colic is one of those conditions that many of us have experienced with our children. Colic - and related distress symptoms - are often the hardest for the parents endure and live with. It does wear the patience of a saint - especially while seeing your child in such distress! I have found that chronic versions of colic are often related to birth difficulties. As a result, I have found that my warmest thanyous and referrals have come from the parents of infants that have been treated successfully.
Read more about Colic Symptoms and Treatment as well as Treating Infant Colic with CranioSacral Therapy.



Plagiocephaly (or misshapen head).
I decided to write this article as many of the children I see at my craniosacral therapy clinic have the appearance of Plagiocephaly. Their parents are concerned when they notice these asymmetries and find it hard to know what to do. The causes of Plagiocephaly vary : babies who are constantly placed on their back to sleep, babies who get stuck in one position in the womb (positional entrapment in utero), the use of forceps and vacuum during the birth or babies who have gone through long, heavy labours.
Read more about Plagiocephaly.


Tongue-Tie and Frenetomy.
Tongue tie is something that can really contribute to feeding difficulties with your baby - specially when breast-feeding.
Read more about Tongue-Tie and Frenetomy.


Baby Crawling.
It is so lovely to see baby taking those first moves at really getting around for herself. The freedom! Sometimes, however, this milestone can be slow in coming around. Here we will look at some reasons behind this - and what you can do about it!
Read more about Baby Crawling,



Infant Separation Anxiety.
Infant Separation Anxiety is a result of a disruption in the natural bonding process between mother and infant.
Read more about treating Infant Separation Anxiety.



Infant Constipation.
Some infants experience constipation for days at a time. This often goes hand-in-hand with feeding difficulties. In relieving infant constipation, I normally approach the wide range of symptoms around the baby's digestion often associated with constipation.
Read more about treating Infant Constipation.



Acid Reflux in Infants.
Reflux in infants can be distressing for both the parents - how do you know just how much food your baby is digesting when a lot of it seems to just come back up as well as the baby - with symptoms similar to adult heartburn.
Read More about treating Acid Reflux in Infants as well as an expanded article on Treating Acid Reflux in Newborns.



Infant Allergies.
A large proportion of the clients I see bring their newborn infants in the first few weeks after birth and many ask if their baby’s discomfort may be due to some particular allergy symptoms. There is no straightforward answer to the question. Many different triggers appear to set off symptoms of allergies.
Read More about treating Infant Allergies.



Infant Ear Infection.
Ear Infections in are one of the most common problem with infants and babies. This condition can be treated very effectively with CranioSacral Therapy - much to the delight of the parents!
Read More about treating Infant Ear Infection .



Infant Insomnia and Sleeping Difficulties.
As often is the case with infants, sleeping difficulties are accompanied by other factors. Often, all of these distressing symptoms - for both baby and parents - need to be treated together.
Read more about treating Infant Sleeping Difficulties.



Infant Crying.
Your infant crying immediately alerts you that there is something being wrong in his or her world. Are they hungry? Tired? Needing a nappy change? Too Cold? Too hot? In pain? Many first time parents find this guessing game a challenge but, gradually, as a routine establishes they learn to recognise what their infant’s cry means and how to satisfy its needs.
Read more about Infant Crying.



Infant Torticollis.
Stiffness in your baby's neck often causes him/her to prefer lying facing one side in the cot. It can also result in preferences when feeding. I have found that this condition can be understood and treated successfully.
Read more about treating Infant Torticollis



Infant Feeding
Sucking and Feeding problems usually become obvious early in the infants life. This is often accompanied by other signs of irritability such as excessive crying or difficulty in settling.
Read More about treating difficulties with Infant Feeding.



Scoliosis.
Some causes of Scoliosis react favourably to Craniosacral therapy and some do not.
Read More about treating Scoliosis.



Infant Eczema.
Infant rashes and infant eczema are normally treated successfully by a combination of approaches - often including dietary (often related to infant milk allergy), ointments, washing regime and in my experience, treatments with CranioSacral Therapy.
Read More about treating Infant Eczema.



Breast Feeding.
New Mums - especially first-time Mums - receive great advice from immediate family or breast-feeding consultants when it comes to problems around breast-feeding. In some cases, however, there may be initial difficulties related to the infant's suck reflex or other physiological obstacles.
Read more about treating difficulties with infant feeding and Breastfeeding.



Asthma in Babies.
I have found that Asthma in babies is very amenable to craniosacral therapy treatment. This article looks at infant asthma but, of course, the onset of asthma may occur in adulthood, middle or old age.
Read more about treating Asthma in Babies.




Cerebral Palsy in Babies.
Some of the symptoms associated with Cerebral palsy in babies become evident to parents at an early age. I sometimes see babies whose parents wish to manage these symptoms as early as possible.
Read more about treating Cerebral Palsy in Babies.




Infant Nasal Congestion.
Babies often suffer from nasal congestion in the first few weeks after birth. Most of the remedies are drug-based - but CranioSacral Therapy works as a drug-free treatment.
Read more about treating Infant Nasal Congestion.




Infant Seizures.
Infants experiencing seizures would be cared for by a medical team and I would normally not see them in my clinic. However, with older children suffering from epilepsy - craniosacral work is helpful.
Read more about treating Infant and Children Seizures.







Guest Posts:

Craniosacral Therapy for Babies by Gillian Lee. Gillian is a practising Craniosacral Therapist in Cork, Ireland. Here - she shares her approach to treating Babies.



Share Your Story! Click here to let us know of your experiences with CST for your Infant or Toddler.





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