The CranioSacral Effect on Birth Trauma
How would you, as an adult, respond to a stressful event?
Your heart might race, your breathing may become shallow and rapid, your blood might drain from various parts of your body, you could feel tense and agitated, and there may be effects on your digestive system, from butterflies in the tummy, to nausea, vomiting or worse. Not pleasant!
Some babies find the experience of birth a stressful event, and will react in the same way – with a racing heart, breathing changes, a tight diaphragm, muscular contraction, digestive shutdown and agitation. Luckily babies are very resilient, but some remain in this state of shock, and go on to display symptoms such as colic, poor sleep, restlessness, distress, and an inability to “switch off”. Once the system is in shock, it makes coping with life difficult, making everything in life more of a struggle.
So what can help? CranioSacral therapy is a very gentle hands-on treatment which is particularly valuable for treating babies. The aim of treatment in these babies is to settle the system, to allow the baby to calm down and to experience the feeling of being relaxed. This can have a profound effect – many parents have commented that they have never seen their baby so calm and peaceful. Once a baby is relaxed, it can feed more easily, its digestive system is able to function more efficiently, and it can settle into sleep.
Very powerful physical forces act on a baby during birth. Fortunately the body’s abilities to recover are also powerful, and for most of us the effects will be relatively minor. But with a difficult birth, where the baby’s head has been compressed for long periods, distorted due to the position the baby finds itself in, or pulled by forceps or ventouse, the body’s own healing and repair abilities may not be enough. If the bones of the baby’s skull are not able to release from their compressed or distorted position and return to their optimal arrangement, this can cause problems. The baby may only be comfortable with its head to one side, which can lead to flattening or moulding of the skull. Blood supply to the developing brain may be compromised, or nerves may be compressed. The baby may simply have a big headache! CranioSacral therapy can very gently release any restrictions and distortions and enable a balanced and healthy growth of the skull, and of the developing brain beneath.
The earlier the treatment, the more easily this will occur, and the more complete the recovery.
By Gillian Bowers CranioSacral therapis, Maternity Network member and Mobile therapist