Cranial Osteopathy looking Beyond the Head.
Cranial osteopathy is branch of osteopathy using refined and subtle manual techniques to encourage the body to release stresses, not only in the head, but anywhere in the body.
During assessment, the osteopath will check for restrictions of the involuntary rhythms in the body. The subtle techniques identify restrictions within the central nervous system, and encourage normal movement in the involuntary , as well as in the mechanics of the joints of the body, including the skull.
The skull is made of 26 bones which are interlinked to express rhythmical cycles of involuntary motion. Impacts to the head or to any part of the spine can block and restrict these gentle movements.
Lack of motion may cause a variety of problems, not only in the head but elsewhere in the body.
A cranial osteopath, is trained to feel this involuntary motion in the tissues, and accordingly apply techniques to help the body to correct from within.
Cranial Osteopathy for Unsettled Babies
I routinely receive calls from distressed parents seeking help for an unsettled, screaming baby . Usually, the baby has been assessed by their general practitioner, paediatrician, health visitor, and no reason has been found for the problem.
There is no agreement as to why a healthy child should be miserable and unsettled. What most have observed is that it may be related to feeding, either by either breast or formula.
If breastfed, certain foods eaten by the mother may upset the digestive system of the baby. The digestive system of some premature and full term babies are not mature enough to digest milk, leading to fermentation and gas.
Another reason that might explain why a healthy baby cries or/and gets upset after a feed is lactose intolerance and lactose overload. Lactose intolerance occurs when the baby's gut does not produce the enzyme Lactase to break down the sugars in the milk. Lactose overload occurs when the breastfed baby takes mostly the fore milk , that is low in fat, leaving the hind milk rich in fat. These babies usually feed fast and frequently. In lactose overload the gut is producing normal lactase.
Flatulence is believed to cause discomfort/pain in a baby. A small or premature baby may have a small mouth and have difficulty covering the breast aureola and ends up swallowing air. The advice is to see that the child latches on well and that the lips cover the aureola.
In a premature or small babies or children with developmental problems, suckling may be weak and they therefore get tired after a short time. During the osteopathic examination I often find that the hypoglossal nerves that supply the muscles of the tongue are irritated and therefore latching on is difficult.
An osteopathic examination includes the following:
All the structures related to swallowing, suckling and breathing, including motion of ribs, clavicles and diaphragm, the contents of the abdomen and position of the umbilicus, drainage of fluids from the head, neck, abdomen and motion and position of every vertebra.
Cranial restrictions or tension in individual bones or between the bones of the head, particularly where the skull joins the neck.
Airways need to be open. For example, when breastfeeding with a blocked nostril, the baby needs stop to breathe though the mouth. The problem may be the face, neck or chest.
Osteopathic treatment for children is carried out by applying gentle techniques over the areas relating to the problem.
The most common conditions to help children with are:
1. Possetting or regurgitation
2. Grumpy and tense children
3. Difficult birth
4. Forceps or ventouse used during delivery
5. Teething discomfort
6. Odd head shapes
7. Delayed progress e.g . not crawling or walking at the expected age.
8. Respiratory problems linked to asthma, the chest and neck muscles may be tense.
10.Aches and pains associated with growing.
11. Sports injuries, like young ballet dancing, gymnastics, running etc.
Registered Osteopath Salome Olivia has been treating children since 1993. Registered with the General Osteopathic Council. Holds a Post grad in Paediatric Osteopathy from the Osteopathic Centre for Children and has conducted further studies in Asthma and Reflux in children and adults. Member of The International Cranial Association, The Institute of Osteopathy and the British Medical Acupuncture Society