Infant craniosacral therapy needs to be distinguished from working on adults.
It was during my own training in Pediatrics that I came to realize the importance of being highly skilled and competent before working with infants (I would look at an infant/baby as being up to 1 year) for conditions such as Colic. I feel the younger the infant the more skilled the therapist should be.
My skills and touch have become sensitive enough to treat all children including tiny infants. For some time, I have begun to encourage my pregnant mums to have their newborn infants treated with CranioSacral therapy and they have been more than happy with the results.
The Right Approach.
Over time, I feel Adaptability by the therapist is most important in treating infants. Firstly, it is important to treat with a very light touch. Infants normally prefer to be close to their caregiver and so their treatment may take place on a chair or with the mother lying down while the infant is feeding.
An awareness of childhood development has given me a greater understanding of the infant’s world. With very young children they will be happy to receive my touch if the adult present is happy with this situation and so I sometimes begin the treatment by indirectly treating through the adult. I find that this gives the infant a deeper sense of security and they are then more open to the work.
The Right Touch.
If we understand the process of fetal development and the child’s birth experience we can better treat them should our touch elicit 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. If the baby starts crying during treatment I need to become aware if it is frustration in the tissues over a difficult birth or if we need to stop and take a break.
The Family Dynamic.
A family dynamic is important when treating infants. Others present at the treatment may indirectly be held by the therapist in an energetic space or directly by questioning their experiences regarding the baby.
The infant’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.
Another aspect to bear in mind is that in treating infants 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.
As a guideline treatments can be about 50 minutes for infants (I would treat young children for 40 minutes max. - as they tend to move around a lot!). This time scale may vary depending on the infant.
With all this in mind I begin the treatment.