Six issues that cranio works quickly to help in babies

Cranio is a gentle, holistic treatment that has the potential to facilitate profound changes in the body, which can make all the difference to an infant’s sense of wellbeing. Babies often find it to be very relaxing and parents often notice they feel a lot calmer too after their baby receives treatment. Babies tend to respond quickly to cranio, often only needing between 1-3 treatments. These six issues can be easily addressed in one session:

1. Your labour was induced

Induction via a Syntocinon drip can feel intense to mothers, often we overlook the experience of the baby. Babies play an active role in birth; pushing off the uterine walls with their feet, twisting and turning to find their way out. Induction overrides this natural pacing and sequence. During a cranio treatment I may palpate tones of urgency and fear. These stress imprints often resolve within one cranio treatment where they otherwise may be held in the body and impact on feeding, sleep and baby behaviour. Feeling of self-empowerment are often restored after a cranio treatment.

2. Your baby is restless when sleeping or difficult to settle to sleep

This may be related to a difficult birth experience, sometimes these babies are in shock from the birth or stuck in “fight or flight” mode with their nervous system is dialled up. Cranio helps to calm the nervous system. This isn’t just within a treatment, but often continues afterwards. Babies then feel safe enough to drop into a deep sleep. *Other reasons may include food sensitivities and may not be as easily addressed with cranio.

3. Your newborn baby falls asleep at the breast within 5 minutes

Medication or anaesthesia from birth may still be influencing baby. Or the baby may be in parasympathetic shock after birth. This is the freeze aspect of the nervous system survival mode – “fight, flight or freeze”. Cranio can clear this dissociative state so that baby is more alert to feed.

4. Your baby has poor eye contact

We underestimate babies. They have a strong capacity for connection and can make deep eye contact if they feel safe and are not holding on to difficult experiences. Babies often have improved capacity for eye contact after cranio treatment.

5. Your baby was exposed to medication (during pregnancy, birth or anytime afterwards)

Perhaps you had to take medication (including antidepressants, pethidine) during pregnancy or labour. Sometimes this is unavoidable and in the best interests of both mum and baby. Or maybe your baby had to have antibiotics for a health concern.

A baby may need a little support to help clear the side effects from their system, usually one session is all that is needed.

6. Baby vomits or hiccups excessively

There may be tensions in the diaphragm that cranio can help to release.

Ideally babies would have treatment in the weeks and months following birth, but it is never too late to book in. Please share with anyone you know who is pregnant or has a baby.

Please contact me to book an appt for your baby.

Cranio for kids

I have treated a few school age children lately. It is so beneficial to the child to be able to resolve underlying physical tensions, suppressed emotions or patterns of “fight or flight”‘ in a safe space.

Children are very much in tune with the rhythms of their body and during a treatment, can feel all the shifts happening within, more so than most adults. They do have to consent to treatment, and are told that at anytime that they can speak up and stop the session, if desired – mostly, they don’t though, they can feel the benefits. By the end of the session, the nervous system feels calmer and balanced. All the energy that was holding the tensions at a subconscious level is freed up to optimise their vitality. They are then better able to self regulate their emotions.

It is a privilege to treat children, I love it as much as I love treating babies. Therefore I want to open up more space for school age children to access my services. I will extend my hours on Mondays and Tuesdays to see children after school.

Please contact me, if you feel your child may benefit from some craniosacral therapy.

Cranio for babies with a head preference

I recently had the privilege of working of with two babies who had a head preference and cranio was very helpful in increasing range of motion and infant comfort.

One little boy had significant torticollis from inutero positioning. This prevented him from latching well to the breast. His mum was “amazed” by the improvements. She herself booked in for a few sessions of cranio, it was so interesting to see the same constrictions show up in her body too. Baby shows much more progress when you help to release the jaw/neck tightness in mum.

Another baby I worked with over three sessions had significant neck tension and discomfort, which we suspected was from an external cephalic version (ECV). He was in a breech position and was assisted to turn head down while inutero by health professionals. His mother noted how painful the procedure was for her as she felt his head when it hit her pelvis. For the baby this can be a disorienting experience and, by the sounds of it for this baby, painful too as his head came into contact with her pelvic bones. He was extremely unsettled since birth. After two treatments, he was noticeably more comfortable in his body, sleeping better & crying less.

It is important to note that mums also need to be involved in treatment. It still astounds me to feel the same constriction patterns arise in the mums body. Often full healing is not possible until the tight jaw/shoulders/neck resolve in mums body. Mums and babies are so connected and often mirror each other body patterns.

Cranio is such a gentle and sensitve way to approach these kinds of injuries. Often if touch is the cause of the injury (despite best intentions), then the spacious empathic listening touch of a craniosacral therapist is the perfect way to create a sense of safety around touch in order for the body to release tensions and trauma.

For best results book a birth trauma package – three treatments spaced one week apart (including at least one mum and bub treatment).

Releasing constrictions in mum helps baby too

Many mums feel nervous about getting bodywork for their baby. Most people have not heard of biodynamic craniosacral therapy. It’s a leap of faith to see a new therapist in a therapy that is not widely known in Australia. Cranio treatment for mum, helps her to experience the therapy and also benefits baby. Long-held constrictions and patterns are released from the mother’s body which has a flow-on effect for baby.

Mums and babies systems are inextricably linked – more so than you might think! For example, during a baby cranio treatment, I may feel a constriction that seems difficult to shift (eg. tight shoulder muscle). When I treat mum the same constriction presents and it becomes clear that it originated in mum not baby! Cranio releases the constriction in mum, but also in her baby too. Her baby is simply mirroring her constriction. Interestingly, it may be one of the ways that trauma is passed down from one generation to the next. Mirroring can be partly explained through the concept of mirror neurons (thought to play a key role in empathy and social behaviour).

“Children do not just mirror what they see and hear, but also what they feel in other people. As sensitive children … we contact the internal space of our parent’s body with the internal space of our body… we mirror constrictions and emotions that are held within the inner depths of our parents bodies”

Judith Blackstone – Trauma and the Unbound Body

What exactly are constrictions? Humans protectively constrict (or contract) the body when we experience something overwhelming. These constrictions are bound up with memories and emotions from the event. Cranio brings awareness to these constrictions through body sensations (and often emotions or memories) which are then released from the body. Let me give you an example of a constriction in a baby. Born via c-section, Sophie* experienced their first touch (around the back of the neck) as shocking or painful and held a constriction there. Any time she is touched in a similar way, she responds with the same emotions from the first event (anger or fear). This can often show up when placing babies in a car seat. Gentle touch in a cranio treatment can highlight this constriction and its emotional pattern, and allow it to resolve within that safe holding field. The next time a similar event happens, the response is different. In this case, Sophie* is less reactive, no longer triggered or better able to self-regulate strong emotions within this pattern.

The good news is babies have much fewer constrictions in their bodies than adults and tend to need fewer cranio sessions. Adults carry many patterns of experiences and may hold constrictions from as far back as their own birth. Its always fascinating what comes up in a cranio session!

*name changed

I have just finished reading Judith Blackstone’s book Trauma and The Unbound Body. She does a fantastic job of explaining a lot of somatic concepts that mirror my experience of giving and receiving cranio treatment. I feel I am going to be quoting her quite a bit in the near future.

The difference between surviving and thriving

A craniosacral therapist is trained to detect subtle motions within the body.

These rhythms are expressions of being alive …. stillness, expansion and contraction.

“Your entire body and its components expand and contract continually, with intermittent pauses in stillness” – Mia Kalef.

Life experiences introduce different motions into the system. For example, the body may contract in a different way – in order to self protect. This is a survival mechanism. If the body feels safe, it can expand and grow. This is the difference between surviving and thriving!

A craniosacral session provides a deep listening that feels safe. The body is better able to release contraction patterns that may have been set up as a protective response. A healthier motion arises from stillness, one that is more aligned with your essential nature.

The Body Remembers…

Babies (and adults) remember their birth and early life (pre-verbal) experiences. These experiences are imprinted on the nervous system and tissues of the body. Early life experiences, like birth, influence our body and our behaviour. These formative experiences are often forgotten but can be later remembered (for example during a treatment of cranio). This occurs through the phenomena of “implicit” memory and is recalled through body sensations and feelings. Cranio creates a supportive, caring, slowed down, environment where these implicit memories can gently emerge (along with emotions and physical sensations). This process can restore a feeling of wholeness, even with the accompanying pain of remembering.

*I have paraphrased Mia Kalef (from her book “The Secret Life of babies”) which I am currently reading. I highly recommend to others who are interested in understanding the nature of craniosacral therapy, the unconscious body and the sentience of babies.