Many people have heard of the benefits of craniosacral therapy for babies and children. Touch is so light that many patients do not even notice it, and most adults report feeling profoundly relaxed after a treatment. Because it is such a gentle and non-invasive technique, it is particularly suitable for the treatment of babies, who appreciate the touch and respond particularly well to it.
Adults and children may respond to a stressful event with symptoms such as a racing heart, rapid and shallow breathing, agitation, tension, or effects on the digestive system such as nausea, vomiting, or butterflies in the tummy. Some babies find the experience of birth a stressful event and may react in a similar way, with breathing changes, a tight diaphragm, muscular tension, digestive issues and agitation. Luckily babies are very resilient, but some remain in this state of shock, and may go on to display symptoms such as colic, poor sleep, restlessness, distress and an inability to "switch off". The aim of treatment in these babies is to settle the system, to allow the baby to calm down and to experience the feeling of being relaxed. This can have a profound effect - many parents have commented that they have never seen their baby so calm and peaceful. Once a baby is relaxed, it can feed more easily, its digestive system is able to function more effectively, and it can settle into sleep.
Very powerful physical forces act on a baby during birth. Fortunately the body's abilities to recover are also powerful, and for most of us the effects will be relatively minor. With a difficult birth, where the baby's head has been compressed for long periods, distorted due to the position the baby finds itself in, or pulled by forceps or ventouse, the baby's own healing and repair abilities may not be enough. Baby may only be comfortable with the head turned to one side, which can lead to flattening or moulding of the skull. Blood supply may be compromised or nerves may be irritated causing further muscular tension. The baby may simply have a big headache! Craniosacral therapy can very gently release any restrictions and distortions and allow the baby to be comfortable in different positions, enabling a balanced development of the skull to occur. Whist treatment is possible at any age, if treated early, conditions tend to respond more readily, and restrictions to the craniosacral system can be resolved before they become established in the body.