Babies can benefit immensely from a series of Craniosacral sessions. The birthing process is heavy physical labor for baby and is not only stressful, but from baby’s perspective can feel life threatening. There is often excessive amounts of pressure put on the infant’s skeleton and cranium. This is often compounded in many cases with interventions such as Pitocin, Forceps, and Vacuum Extraction. The extreme forces that baby is subjected to can cause multiple restrictions within the system, that if left untreated can create symptoms such as TMJ, scoliosis, vision problems like dyslexia, headaches, sleep issues, behavioral issues, and soft tissue moulding.
Families often bring babies in for Craniosacral therapy that are experiencing:
- Adduction Contracture of hip (misalignment of hips)
- Congenital Scoliosis (a curving of the spine, can be mild and not very noticeable)
- Cranial molding
- Crossed or wandering eyes
- Difficulty nursing /latching challenges
- Difficulty swallowing
- Jaw clamping
- Malposition of knees or feet
- On/off fussing, excessive spit-ups (Acid Reflux)
- One-sided feeding challenges (head turns more easily in one direction)
- Pelvic Obliquity (misalignment of pelvis)
- Persistent crying, or the very “quiet” baby
- Plagiocephaly ( where the skull may be flattened on one area or asymmetrical)
- Restricted jaw opening
- Sleep problems
- Torticollis (head dominantly to one side)
- Weak suck action or nursing issues
I recommend that all newborns get a series of Craniosacral Sessions following birth to help smooth out the “wrinkles of birth”. These sessions allow a babies bones and tissues to reorient to health and symmetry, and gives them an opportunity to release any trauma energy or residual emotions they may have cycling in their nervous system. It may also present an opportunity for some bonding between Mom and Baby, or Dad and Baby that may have been interrupted somewhere along the way.
An infants skull is designed for compressive forces, the bones are not all completely connected yet and the spaces between them allow for a certain amount of overlap to allow the head to make its way through the tiny birth canal. However, the birth process can last a long time, a baby can still get stuck, and nature does its best, but our bodies can only handle so much.
One extremely vulnerable spot is the base of the skull, since nerves and blood vessels go in and out of the skull from here — especially the Vagus Nerve, which regulates the function of almost all organs — as well as breathing, digestion and the relaxation of the heart. Compressive forces during birth can result in pressure on the nervous system, particularly the cranial nerves that control sucking/swallowing, jaw mobility and the digestive systems. The baby may have areas of discomfort, muscular tension or bone misalignment. By using gentle touch at the cranial base, many compressive forces can be released. Restoring balance to the nervous system has a remarkable effect on the baby’s well-being (and that of the parents!)
In short, what I look for when working with babies are very subtle signs in their behavior, and response to the treatment, that will indicate what areas need to be addressed or what needs to be done. Signals such as baby’s body language, reflexes and sensitivity to touch all give useful information. It is very clear when a baby doesn’t want to be touched in a particular area — he/she will usually turn away or push with his/her arms or legs — and this is respected. Babies will also often let you know there is work to be done when they repeatedly touch the same area or body part. For example a baby may pull on the same ear repeatedly, or may tap, hit, or press on an area of the cranium. This is often done in an unconscious attempt to self-correct. If you pay close enough attention to babies, it is amazing how intelligent they really are! Look for repeated patterns that stick out or seem unusual.
Nothing is ever done without the baby’s and parent’s permission. As with all approaches with this work, it is the patient who determines the speed and process of the work, not the practitioner.