Your Questions Answered

What is Cranial Osteopathy?
It is a very subtle and gentle approach to treatment of the whole baby, not just the head. It is NOT different to osteopathy. It recognises the importance of the subtle mechanics at work within the head and their influence on the whole body. Babies are born with soft spots (fontanelles) on their heads. These represent where the plates that form the skull of the baby have not yet joined together. Imagine how a tulip in bud has closely hugging petals. The petals represent the plates of the skull. Once the baby’s head emerges from the birth canal, the plates open up -just like a tulip blossoming. The fontanelles are the spaces that eventually fill in with developing and maturing bone. The field of cranial osteopathy has recognised that pressure on the skull plates and the fontanelles has been shown to have a profound effect on the developing child.

How Can It Benefit Babies?
It can help a huge variety of different symptoms and problems in babies & children. Every part of the body depends on other parts working well. To be in good health it is vital that all parts work well. Osteopathy treats the cause as well as the symptoms. During birth the baby is subjected to enormous forces as it is pushed along the birth canal. The baby has to turn and twist as is squeezes along through the bony pelvis.

During a normal labour the baby’s head is able to absorb these stresses, after all it is designed to do so. These stresses and strains are released naturally afterwards. This releasing process is aided by suckling, crying, yawning and feeding. Some factors can limit the ability of the baby to cope with labour and recover fully afterwards, especially if it has been a difficult birth or assisted in any way for example by forceps. If the stresses remain, the body must accommodate these as it grows. Unresolved birth stresses have been shown to develop into physical adaptations that can be the root of different problems both in childhood and into adulthood.

When Is The Best Time To Have It Done?
Babies can be checked up immediately after birth. In some parts of the USA the cranio-sacral system is checked at delivery. On average, we see babies from two weeks upward.

How Safe Is It? Will It Cause Discomfort?
Cranial osteopathy is completely safe. Osteopaths are fully trained to recognise any major or minor problems and will contact the general practitioner in any cases of uncertainty or suspicion. A full case history is taken from the parent/s including health of the mother during pregnancy any family history of medical conditions and most important of all, as much detail of the birth process as possible. Examination includes the function of the skeletal structure; gentle feeling of the soft spot (fontanelles) of the baby’s head and a detailed detail assessment of the way the joints of the skull work in relation to each other. The approach also assesses breathing mechanics. The treatment is aimed at releasing strains of the system and the baby often relaxes and sleeps during this calming approach.

In What Circumstances Would A Baby Require This Treatment?
Obvious symptoms are excessive crying, unhappy or unsettled states. Feeding difficulties, sickness, colic wind and sleep disturbances. Parents are advised to bring their children to us by their midwife, health visitor or general practitioner especially following a difficult labour and particularly following assisted delivery – forceps or Ventouse. However, other parents are our biggest fans.

Will It Help Babies Sleep Better?
Many babies will sleep heavily following cranial treatment. If your baby has a disturbed sleep pattern, then often this is one of the symptoms that improve quickly. Most other symptoms improve noticeably within very few sessions.

How Many Sessions Are Usually Required?
The number of sessions needed varies with the severity of the problems and the age of the baby. Older children may need monitoring and may need treatment over a period of time.

What About Older Children?
Most common symptoms in older children are glue ear, recurring infections, poor concentration at school, poor bowel movements and some of the symptoms of asthma.

Some adult conditions for example sinus problems; head-aches and migraines can also respond very well to cranial osteopathy.