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What is Craniosacral Therapy and How Does it Help with Colic?

Craniosacral therapy–it’s a mouthful, and if you’re like most people, you may have no idea what it is. But, for those of you with a colicky baby, tune in, because it could help your child.

Wikipedia defines craniosacral therapy as, “Craniosacral therapy (also called CST, also spelled CranioSacral bodywork or therapy) is an alternative medicine therapy used by osteopaths, massage therapists, naturopaths, and chiropractors. A craniosacral therapy session involves the therapist placing their hands on the patient, which allows them to tune into what they call the craniosacral rhythm. The practitioner claims to gently work with the spine and the skull and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are said to be eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is said to be optimized, and misaligned bones are said to be restored to their proper position.”

In layman’s terms–trauma in a person’s life can cause the cerebrospinal fluid to be blocked–craniosacral therapy, through gentle massage and touch, can release it. Although craniosacral therapy can be performed on people of all ages, it’s especially useful for babies because it’s non-invasive. You may be thinking, “Great! But what does this have to do with colic?” Well, those who practice craniosacral therapy believe that when a baby has trauma upon delivering–whether it’s a c-section, the use of forceps or a vacuum, or even a very long birth–this can stop up the fluid. The CranioSacral Therapy Clinic’s website explains it as the following, “A baby’s head and body is adapted to compression during labour and indeed benefits from this pressure. What leads to difficulty, are the excessive forces of artificially-induced contractions or the use of medical instruments. These place overwhelming pressure on the delicate bones and membranes of the baby’s head and body. These interventions, while necessary for a baby’s safe delivery, can result in unwanted side effects which lead to a cranky and unsettled baby. The light touch of craniosacral therapy is appropriate and effective in relieving these compressions and allows the baby’s systems to balance and relax.”

Seem too good to be true? Colette Minehane, a physical therapist, talks of different cases where therapy has helped patients. In one, she goes through the steps that she took with a baby named Tom, who she saw for the first time at four weeks old. On her site, Colette states, “Tommy was quite distressed during the initial treatment. I worked on his cranial bones, released restrictions in his neck, balanced the dural tube of the spine and released the diaphragm. A common area of dysfunction in babies with colic, is in the base of the skull behind the ear. This restriction can often affect the Vagus nerve which has a direct impact on a baby’s breathing and digestion.

Baby Tom screamed throughout the 45 mins, brought up a lot of muscus, sweated profusely and displayed Somato Emotional Release (SER)… retained memory from the trauma of his birth. His digestive tract was ‘on fire’ and his nervous system in shock. This is owed to all the vomiting his little body had to go through.

When Tommy and his parents returned, they had noticed an improvement for the first 3 days; he fed better, cried and ‘fussed’ less  and slept for longer. His Mum felt like he was a different child both in his form and manner, and alot more settled in himself. These improvements gradually lessened towards the end of the week.

I carried out 4 more treatments and as time went on, Tommy got more longevity from the work and became extremely calm and relaxed. 8 weeks later, Tommy’s parents were happy to report that he was now feeding normally and very happy in himself.”

All in all, if you ‘re going through a terrible colic phase with your child, you may want to give craniosacral therapy a try. Since it’s non-invasive, and no drugs are needed, I, personally, think it would be worth it. If you want to read even more about the treatment, click here.

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