It is a common belief that babies and children should have no structural stresses or strains in their bodies, because they are ‘so young’. The reality is very different. Birth is one of the most stressful events of our lives. The baby is subjected to enormous forces, as the uterus pushes to expel the baby against the natural resistence of the birth canal. The baby has to turn and twist as it squeezes through the bony pelvis, on its short but highly stimulating and potentially stressful journey.
The baby’s head has the remarkable ability to absorb these stresses in a normal delivery. In order to reduce the size of the head, the soft bones overlap, bend and warp as the baby descends. The baby’s chin is normally well tucked down towards its chest to reduce the presenting diameter of the head.
Many babies are born with odd shaped heads as a result. In the first few days, the head can usually be seen to gradually lose the extreme moulded shape, as the baby suckles, cries and yawns. However, this “unmoulding” process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult. As a result, the baby may have to live with some very uncomfortable tensions and strains within its head and body.
What problems may Cranial Osteopathy help with in babies?
Some babies cope extremely well with even quite severe retained moulding and compression, and are contented and happy. For others its a different story, and they can display a variety of problems. Cranial Osteopathy may help with:
Digestive difficulties: These may relate to unresolved tension in the rib cage especially in the diaphragm muscle between the abdomen and ribcage.
Inability to relax: The baby sleeps for only short periods, and may sleep little in the day (or night!). They wake to the slightest noise- “jumpy”. The tension on the bony and membranous casing of the skull keeps the baby’s nervous system in a persistently alert state.
Aches and pains.
What problems may cranial osteopathy help with in older children?
As the child grows, the effects of retained moulding can lead to other problems. The following are the most common:
Aches and pains.
Headaches related to muscle tension.
Inability to relax.
Minor sports injuries.
What will happen during treatment?
When you visit a cranial Osteopath for the first time, a full case history will be taken, including information about other pregnancies, your child’s various active interests, childhood milestones and general health.
After examination the Osteopath will discuss their findings and how best to proceed.
Treatment is usually a fairly comfortable experience and often babies are treated whilst feeding as this can further assist with the unmoulding process.
After treatment, children can be unsettled for 24-36 hours, this is normal. However if you are concerned please do not hesitate to contact us.
How many sessions will be needed?
On average, 2 to 6 treatments are sufficient. This varies according to the severity of the problem and the age of the child.
When to treat?
The younger the better; it is never too early to treat! For best results, treatment should be before the age of 5 years. After this, the stresses and asymmetries cannot always be completely eliminated but it is still possible to achieve beneficial release of the stresses throughout life.
We recommend due to the stresses and strains experienced during the processes on both the baby and the mother; that both baby and mother be treated. It is easier to treat Mum whilst the effects of the Relaxin hormone (produced in the last trimester of preganancy) is still present in the mothers body as this hormone causes the body to be more supple.
We run a mother and baby clinic on Thursday mornings at our Dunstable clinic which is led by our experienced Osteopath Natalie Seager BSc Ost who has over 16 years of experience. We also have experienced Osteopaths specialising in Cranial Osteopathy at our Leighton Buzzard and Harlow Clinics.