Why Craniosacral Therapy for Babies can be Life Changing
I often get asked how many children I have, especially from my clients who are parents. They see me working with their children and assume that I have a child of my own. With a smile, I always respond, “I have a dog child.”
This usually brings up a second question of how did I learn to work with children and babies? I go into detail about working at Primary Children's Hospital while growing my craniosacral therapy practice. How I never planned to work with children, it just sort of happened naturally through an unplanned sequence of events.
In all honesty, when I started at the hospital I was scared to work with babies, especially babies in the ICU. They seemed so delicate, often very small, and full of lines and tubes. I was scared to touch them let alone do occupational therapy with them. It was through watching other therapists and nurses and spending more and more time in the ICU with the babies themselves that I became more comfortable treating. Over time this became my favorite place to be and some of my favorite clients.
My work with babies in the ICU easily translated over into my personal craniosacral therapy practice. When working with very sick babies I had to learn to touch them from a place of neutral (important in craniosacral treatments), learn to “listen” to their cues and body language, and learn to stay calm even if they were crying or upset. I also had to learn to work around their lines and tubes. This gave me the opportunity to learn how to treat a part of the body without actually touching the body part itself.
The body is interconnected from the bottom of your foot to the top of the head through a fascia network that surrounds and connects everything it touches in one interrupted stream. It is full of magical layers all intersecting each other starting with the skin and working its way into the deeper layers of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and bones. This is why a craniosacral therapist can make such drastic changes with clients who have head injuries.
By touching the skin on the head, there can be micro movements to the bones below, and even more micro movements to the dura and the pia matter layers that surround the brain. The brain itself and the layers below all the way down to the ventricles (spaces filled with fluid deep in the brain) can be affected just by working on the outside.
The same holds true for anywhere in the body; working on the superficial layers can affect the deeper layers below. And it goes in all directions; working superior (above) or inferior (below) an area that needs treatment affects the area that needs treatment as well. So as I worked around lines, tubes, surgical stitches and other hospital equipment, I learned to treat anywhere on the body while still creating changes for the baby.
I no longer work in the hospital and can touch and treat most babies in a more “typical” fashion. My time spent in the hospital learning was a blessing that propelled me into my private practice. The was one of the hardest parts about leaving Primary Children’s Hospital was knowing that I would no longer treat babies that needed treatment the most.
Which leads me to my last lesson and one of my passions: treatment for babies can be life-changing. All babies, regardless of an ICU stay or not, benefit from craniosacral treatments. As I have treated babies I have seen first-hand nervous systems relax, heart rates stabilize, bodies quickly align, and better bonding with parents all from a little body work. Coming into this world is not an easy process, hospital delivery is often not ideal, and there is a high rate of C-sections but one this can be easily adjusted from a little treatment. As the upper layers are touched, the lower layers are treated and come into balance. I have also treated pregnant mothers who report easier labors, easier deliveries, and calm babies post birth from receiving regular treatment during their pregnancy.
Easier deliveries and happier, well adjust babies means happier, well-adjusted children and adults. As my teacher says, “A better birth for a better Earth” which has become my motto as well. Whether I am treating the baby in utero, just after birth, or months after I know I am contributing to a happier, healthier society in the long run.
If you are interested in reading about a birth that I attended for a mom who had regular craniosacral therapy treatments check out this previous blog post. What are your thoughts on craniosacral treatment for babies post delivery or while in utero? Do you have a birth story you’d like to share? I’d love to hear it if you do!