Beyond the deep level of relaxation that CST can provide, mums bring their babies and young children to CranioSacral Therapists for many reasons, including:
Birth trauma, such as issues from a vacuum or forceps extraction or an emergency C-section
Trouble with breastfeeding
Gastrointestinal pain and acid reflux
Not sleeping well
Problems stemming from the birthing process
CST practitioners often find that when a baby has compression anywhere in the CranioSacral system — from the head at the top of the spine (Cranium) to the base of the spine (Sacrum) — the treatment can help alleviate that compression, leading to symptom alleviation.
When would a baby or young child need CranioSacral Therapy?
Few mothers would say that birth, however rewarding, is without pain, hard work and often exhaustion. However, we are less aware of the fact that, for babies too, birth can be confusing, frightening and painful as the baby is subjected to compressive and other forces during its journey through the birth canal. The new-born baby has a limited range of expression at his or her disposal: we know they cry with hunger or the discomfort of a wet nappy, but babies also cry to express and seek comfort from the shock and pain of birth. They may kick their legs, perhaps re-living the struggle to push their way out, (babies are very active during birth, kicking their legs and lifting their heads as their contribution to the efforts of the mother). Some arch their backs and act out the twists of the birth journey. All these babies are trying to tell us that they are not comfortable and they may benefit from CranioSacral Therapy.
The compression of the birth canal and the expansion as the child is born both contribute to helping the baby’s systems to adjust to the new environment outside the womb. Ideally the bones of the head overlap each other, ’moulding’ to fit the pelvis, then expand after the birth. However, even in a natural and apparently problem-free birth the alignment of the cranial bones may be less than perfect, potentially giving rise to issues such as colic and respiratory difficulties or interfering with the shape of the jaw and the palette, making feeding difficult. Caesarean and assisted births bring their own challenges to the baby’s ability to adjust.
CranioSacral Therapy is just as useful for older babies, toddlers and young children, giving them the chance to unfold the experiences of their birth or any other discomfort they may be experiencing. Toddlers usually have their sessions on the move, playing with the toys, moving round the room or sitting on their parent’s or carer’s knee. As they tend to be quite active the time we get to make physical contact with their body is often fleeting. They are usually very clear about what they need, often placing our hands on their bodies or indicating where they want the attention themselves or on their parent(s) and removing our hands when they have had enough.
Ideally if it is possible to have CranioSacral Therapy earlier in the baby/child’s life, all the better. However it is never too late and we often work with older adults around their birth experience as well as with those who have just recently arrived!
Whatever age our client, in ‘True Nature’ we respect all equally. While children occupy small physical bodies and may not yet have acquired verbal communication skills, they nevertheless communicate very clearly, when listened to carefully enough. Our job as CranioSacral Therapists is to listen with our hands and with all our sensitivity to each client, to ensure we are able to respond most appropriately to every client during their session with us.
CranioSacral Therapy for Mum & baby
In our experience we have found that babies and young children are so closely connected, both physically and energetically, to their primary carer(s) that it has the greatest therapeutic benefit to treat Mum (and/or Dad) & baby together. This is one of the reasons why we have 2 Advanced Therapists working together in our ‘True Nature’ Clinic.
Being able to treat Mum, as well as the baby, in the treatment session is particularly helpful if the birth process was in any way stressful or traumatic. During our sessions we ideally like to have the mother hold the baby while the Mum tells the baby’s birth story. We make physical contact with the family group and it is sometimes amazing to witness how the baby’s body reacts to the story and the emotion of their mother. In the witnessing, acknowledging and true listening to the story it is possible for any restrictions around the experience, at a physical, mental and emotional level, to be released. This creates the opportunity for compassion and understanding for all of those participating in the session to arise, increasing the bond between parent(s) and their child, particularly when the birth experience had not lived up to expectation, for whatever reason.
If you are interested in finding out more, in relation to anything mentioned in the article, or just fancy a bit of a chat about any of it, feel free to call either Mags or Karen on 086-0815180 or 087-9704084.
'True Nature' CranioSacral Therapy
"for individuals, therapists, sensitive children and their families,
who want to make conscious changes to their well-being and their lives."
Monkstown Therapy Centre
26 Longford Terrace
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!