What is Cranial Osteopathy?

And why treatment might be needed


Here’s everything you need to know about cranial osteopathy treatment for babies.

When a child is born they can often experience trauma where they absorb the stresses of labour. This can lead to many babies being born with odd-shaped heads and bruising.

Why Do Babies Need Cranial Osteopathy?

Although this normally recedes within the first few days, with the baby’s crying, sucking and yawning, sometimes the unmoulding process is left incomplete. The baby may then experience discomfort within their head and body and if not diagnosed it can lead to long-term effects.

What Does the Treatment Involve?

One treatment for this is known as cranial osteopathy. This refers to a subtle form of osteopathic treatment that gently encourages the release of stresses throughout the body. There are small fluctuations of movement within the body called involuntary motion, by placing their hands on a child’s body a cranial osteopath can feel a gentle expansion and contraction of all the tissues. When these motions are disturbed, such as in childbirth, cranial osteopathy can make a child feel more comfortable.

Winchester based ‘the natural practice’ offer this complementary therapy. Shelia Work, an osteopath at the practice for five years explains the therapy:

“Cranial Osteopathy is a very gentle and safe form of osteopathy which uses manual techniques to make subtle and profound changes within the body. It is non-invasive and its aim is to re-balance systems of the body to enable them to work effectively.”

What are the Benefits of Cranial Osteopathy?

“In babies and children, bones are still pliable and many systems of the body such as the gastrointestinal system are immature and can be influenced by cranial osteopathy. A skilled and experienced cranial osteopath can make a useful contribution to ensure that these systems develop effectively.”

In addition to babies, cranial osteopathy can also help children. This is because as a child grows, the effects of retained moulding can lead to other problems. These can include damaging effects on the body’s reserves and the depletion of the immune system, leaving the child more open to infections. This is because retained moulding can affect the movements of the bones around the face reducing drainage of the ear canal and sinuses. This often leads to recurrent ear infections, impaired hearing due to glue ear and mouth breathing.

What Happens if Trauma Goes Untreated?

Children can also experience behavioural problems and learning difficulties if they go untreated.

“Children who are dyslexic and/or dyspraxic can benefit as can those on the autistic spectrum or who had been diagnosed with ADHD or most other types of behavioral issue.”

Parents should seek treatment if they find their babies are persistently crying, feeling generally irritable, have colic or suffer from wind. These symptoms could be a result of a number of factors associated with retained moulding and the subsequent feeling of pressure in the head. The baby will therefore needs constant movement to distract it from the discomfort and help it to settle.

Sheila Work suggests parents should also look out for symptoms of:

“An unsettled baby who finds it difficult to sleep. Difficulty latching on or bottle-feeding, sicking up after feeds, dislikes lying on their back or wearing hats due to an asymmetrical head. Recurrent colds and coughs and other chesty conditions, glue ear, sticky eyes, squints, behavioural issues in toddlers and children such as not sitting still, lack of concentration and excessive tantrums. Wetting the bed or reluctance in toilet training”

For more information on cranial osteopathy or where to seek treatment visit: http://www.thenaturalpractice.com/

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