Osteopathy for Babies

Omphysio Service

Cranial Osteopathy is a subtle form of osteopathic treatment. It’s usually used to treat babies and children and involves a gentle manipulation of their head and spine to increase comfort, particularly if they’re having trouble passing wind or are in discomfort when trying to settle. Cranial osteopathy is a gentle but still focuses on the root of the problem. When a child is born they can often experience trauma where they absorb the stresses of labour. This can lead to many babies being born with odd-shaped heads and some bruising. Although this normally sorts itself out within the first few days, with the baby’s crying, sucking and yawning, sometimes the process is left incomplete. Your baby may then experience discomfort if not diagnosed it can lead to long-term effects. This is where cranial osteopathy can step in. The treatment can also be used to help with particularly ‘unsettled’ babies or little ones who have trouble sleeping. The aim is to remove any tensions that may have occurred during pregnancy and/or delivery and restore proper balance and alignment of the body to optimise health and wellbeing. With gentle and appropriate techniques, the osteopath will re-balance the baby's tensions by working on the whole body (skull, spine, abdomen, pelvis, lower and upper limbs.) It can also release the tensions around the mouth (jaw, throat, soft palate) to allow your baby to breastfeed and bottle feed easily if having difficulty.

What happens during a session with an osteopath?

Your baby's first appointment will be one hour. We will take a comprehensive case history, asking you questions about your concerns, the pregnancy and birth history, baby’s medical history and family history. Then we will perform a gentle examination of your baby looking at your baby's joints and muscles throughout the body, we will also examine the cranial bones of the skull, look inside your baby mouth for a tongue tie for example (and refer to a specialist if needed). Then we treat accordingly by gently correcting areas of tension to allow baby to continue its good development and prevent future malfunction.

In some cases, we might refer you to your GP or paediatrician for further screening or treatment if needed.

What can I expect after a session?

The treatment rebalances certain dysfunctions in your baby’s body and he then will be adjusting to his new equilibrium.

After the session, your baby will certainly be tired. Each baby will react differently. Some babies will be very sleepy after their session, others will be agitated, will have a transit disrupted for a few days, or will be hungry. Within 1 to 3 days, once he has fully recovered from the session, baby's behavior will be normal again. This form of osteopathic treatment gently encourages the release of stresses throughout the body. There are small fluctuations of movement within the body called involuntary motion, by placing their hands on a child’s body a cranial osteopath can feel a gentle expansion and contraction of all the tissues. When these motions are disturbed, such as in childbirth, cranial osteopathy can make a child feel more comfortable.

Shelia Work, an osteopath at Winchester-based The Natural Practice explains: “Cranial Osteopathy is a very gentle and safe form of osteopathy which uses manual techniques to make subtle and profound changes within the body.

“It is non-invasive and its aim is to re-balance systems of the body to enable them to work effectively.”

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