What is Craniosacral Therapy?
As a practising craniosacral therapist, I'm passionate about cranioSacral therapy (CST)! It's a powerful balancing and healing treatment suitable for all ages. With its roots in osteopathy, in the 1970’s Dr. John Upledger developed it into a unique treatment. It's a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on treatment, which works with the body's rhythms to activate the natural capacity for healing to correct imbalances within the craniosacral system.
What is the CranioSacral System?
The craniosacral system has been in place since an early stage of our evolution.
It is comprised of:
- The bones of the skull (cranium and mandible)
- The spine
- The sacrum
- The tailbone
- The membranes and fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord, along with the related connective tissue.
Function is to help maintain a healthy environment for the central nervous system (CNS) to function efficiently, thus influencing a variety of bodily functions.
Bearing all this in mind, you can see how it's possible that your baby could be feeling discomfort in the gut and trying to communicate this through crying and through body language. Minor misalignment could interfere with messages efficiently reaching the digestive system, resulting in your baby experiencing colicky symptoms. It's also possible that craniosacral therapy could help to release residual tension around the stomach and colon. It could also aid the stretching and relaxing of the Psoas muscles in the hips, which may be tight after months of your baby being in a flexed, foetal position in the womb.
How Might My Baby Benefit from Craniosacral Therapy?
Childbirth can sometimes be complicated and babies can face a number of stressful challenges on their journey into this world. Some evidence suggests that a high percentage of all newborn babies may still hold a degree of birth stress afterwards.
The bones of the head are separate moving parts, wonderfully designed by nature to move and adjust as the baby travels through the birth canal. Babies’ heads are designed to be flexible and strong enough to push their way out under pressure. However, CST therapists believe that problems can occur when cranial bones get twisted or compressed, and then stay out of shape. This can sometimes happen after a baby has experienced:
- A forceps delivery
- A ventouse (vacuum) extraction
- A prolonged or traumatic birth
Similar problems can happen within the spinal column, with pressure during birth causing a degree of twisting and slight misalignment. CST therapists believe that this could result in disturbance to the nerves at the back of the neck, for example those responsible for relaxing and tensing muscles, leaving your baby feeling very uncomfortable and unsettled.
Misalignment could have an impact on nerves of the central nervous system that branch out from the spine, transmitting essential messages to and from the whole body. These nerves require good skeletal alignment and space to function properly.
CST could help to:
- Release birth stress
- Correct misalignment
- Relax and release tense in muscles and joints
- Calm and relax your baby’s whole body
- Release discomfort and tension around the digestive system causing colicky symptoms
- Improve your baby’s general health and well-being
How does Cranialsacral Therapy Work?
When your baby is feeling safe, loved and relaxed, they may be more able to communicate their areas of tensions. When these tensions are released and balanced, the baby is more likely to wholly relax into life. A sensitive, compassionate therapist will find those areas in need of adjustment and provide an opportunity for balancing to occur.
Gentle hands-on techniques facilitate the unwinding of areas of compression and misalignment, encouraging the release of stress and associated emotions. Your baby’s body can then start to soften and relax. With pressure and tension gone, necessary space in the brain and body could return; room is freed for natural growth and functioning, and your baby’s health and wellbeing could be much improved.
When is it Best for your Baby to have CST Treatment?
It’s worth considering taking your baby to be checked over by a CST therapist in order to give them a good start in life. On average, at least three treatments are required; however differences may be noticeable after just one treatment. After a difficult delivery, and for premature babies, more treatments may be needed and it may take a few sessions before any significant changes are noticed. Also, it's good to know that it's never too late to make a difference – older children and even adults can benefit from CST.