It is well known that during pregnancy many choices the mother makes greatly impact the well being of the fetus, such as alcohol or cigarette smoking. But did you know: a mother’s emotional state of well being during pregnancy will directly impact the fetus’s growth in the uterus. It is during the 7th week of embryological development that the emotional center in the embryo’s brain is born, allowing for the embryo to first experience emotions second-hand through its mother. Anything traumatic or stressful in the mother’s life at this time can directly influence the baby’s emotional and physical development. Long before the baby is ever born it has emotions and memories that can mould it’s future.
The Ideal Birth
A baby has a very stressful as well as stimulating journey as it leaves it’s warm and comfortable uterus home to be received into the strange and cold environment in which it is born. This “journey”, birth, is known as possibly “the most difficult we ever encounter” as humans. The baby’s body is much like our own by the time it is ready to leave the uterus, with some minor differences. The baby’s bones are softer than adult bones, including the skull. The skull will be first to leave the birth canal, and it is for that purpose that the skull bones are able to soften, mould and overlap on each other. This cranial “flexibility”, as well as the mother’s drastic laxity in the pelvic ligaments allow for the head to pass without otherwise drastic restriction, through the bones of the pelvis during delivery. Twisting and turning as it heads down the birth canal, the baby is fully equipped anatomically to make the journey into our world. The passage through the birth canal is a wonderful transition to the outside; the turns and twists are an integral part of molding the shape of the infant’s head. As the baby sucks, yawns and cries the bones of the cranium will ideally migrate to a natural position in the head, where at seven or eight years of age they will permanently join together.
The “Not So Ideal World”
In the “real world” birth’s don’t always go as planned, often devices/operations are performed to assist a birth or save lives. Forceps, ventouses (vacuums), and caesarean sections are commonly used to assist the delivery of a baby. What many people don’t know is the effect these delivery aids can have on the baby. Forceps are very often used to grasp onto the baby’s head during delivery to pull the baby out of the birth canal. Because the infant’s skull bones are so soft, the forceps can cause a great deal of compression and bruising on the baby’s head. Similarly, ventouse can cause severe compression as well as an unnatural traction distortion of the head causing an enormous pressure within the skull and a stretching of the entire cranium. Without therapy it is extremely hard for an infant to release this pressure in it’s head, and develop normally without irritation. Caesarian section can be a very traumatic experience for a baby as well. Picture yourself scuba diving deep on the bottom of the ocean, then, all of a sudden, spewing forth into the light of day, with no warning. Birth is like this for a baby born by caesarian section. From the warmth and comfort of a loving mother’s stomach, to the cold and bright hospital room, what a shocking experience! The drastic pressure change is unbelievable and can have a very negative affect on an infant. Even a normal, natural childbirth with no delivery aids can cause permanent cranial restrictions in a child’s/adult’s life, often not recognized until years have past during childhood and adulthood. Such cranial distortions/restrictions can cause earaches, headaches, reoccurring infections, and possibly lead to the need of braces, and much, much more.
What Can I Do?
The circumstances surrounding a child’s birth are sometimes beyond our control, and interventions are made to aid in the baby’s survival, this cannot be avoided. But there is a therapy used to help an infant “decompress” the cranium after childbirth, preventing and treating a multitude of problems often experienced by infants and children. A technique called Cranial Osteopathy, or Cranial Sacral Therapy is a therapy that’s been used for decades to treat as well as prevent cranial and systemic restrictions worldwide. Often in newborn babies, there is a common compression in the skull. It is here, deep inside the skull at the bony spheno-basilar symphisis that the skull bones have compressed during their path through the birth canal. The body does a great deal to shift the skull bones back into a normal position after birth, but sometimes these bones remain compressed together. Compression and internal pressure at this joint can cause extreme discomfort from the baby (especially when lying down). In addition, there has been great success in treating infants with colic using specific knowledge of the neuronal system within the human body. There is a nerve exiting through the skull that innervates a vast majority of the digestive system in animals (Vagus nerve). It is this nerve in infants that can become compressed or irritated while exiting the skull or as it travels along the esophagus and through the diaphragm. For an infant the strain on the stomach caused by an umbilical cord wrapped around it’s neck will also lead to a great amount of tension on the baby’s stomach and intestines. Even a slight twisting of the diaphragm during labour can restrict diaphragm movement and adversely cause colic symptoms and range of motion problems involving organs and joints possibly lasting throughout one’s life.
What is the Treatment?
Cranial Sacral Therapy as well as Cranial Osteopathy allows for the client’s body to re-align itself, and let the body make the decision how it would like to change. Through very specific knowledge of anatomy and understanding of the human body, the therapist can indirectly manipulate the cranial bones. The treatment consists of very gentle, and skilled hands-on work with the child. These therapies are very specific and not only treat the head, but the entire body. Although cranial is very effective with children, it is not limited to the treatment of children, the amount of uses for this therapy is endless, and new successes are made daily. Cranial has been found useful for the treatment of: Colic, crying babies, feeding difficulties, sickness, behavioral problems, wind (gas), ear infections, sleep disturbances, learning difficulties, adenoidal problems, asthma, recurrent infections, neurological problems/diseases and many, many more.
My name is Julie Hare. I am a Registered Massage Therapist, and have over 14 years experience with Cranial Sacral Therapy and specialize in Pediatric Cranial Sacral Therapy. I can be reached at: 233 Sydney St. S. Kitchener, ON. N2G 3V6 If interested or have any questions feel free to call me at: (519) 591-2600