The cranisacral effect on babies

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

Massage your baby better

Developmental Baby Massage and Movement

People have been massaging babies for centuries, it’s only now that the western world has realised that something as simple as massaging your baby from birth can give you both a unique range of benefits!

Research tells us that ‘touch’ is a primal need, and the first important mode of communication between a mother and her new baby. This is why of skin-to-skin at birth is important and why, when you’re baby cries you are compelled to pick him up and comfort him.

Baby massage encourages a good relationship between parent and baby. It provides quality time to be together, not changing nappies, making dinner, shopping or sterilizing bottles. By giving baby massage parents find it relaxing, peaceful and calming.

Massaging baby is also ideal for Dads to become involved and in touch with their babies. Fathers can be wonderful at baby massage and it can give them positive interaction and a special bond with their baby at a time when he can easily feel left out.

Additional to the obvious benefits of bonding, the one-on-one interaction of baby massage is a tool for maintaining your child’s health and well-being. It:

  • encourages motor development, structural fitness, muscular coordination and flexibility
  • deepens breathing rhythm, inducing relaxation which supports better quality sleep
  • improves circulation which strengthens immunity.
  • stimulates digestion which relieves pain from wind, constipation and colic.

Colic, Constipation and Reflux

Those three little words can strike fear into the hearts of new parents. Endless hours of crying, sleepless nights and emotional exhaustion for all of you.

For those coping with a very windy or colicky baby, help is at hand. Massage techniques can ease pain and discomfort and help baby to relax. Massage can help to disperse wind, ease muscle spasm, tone the digestive system and help it to work efficiently. It is not a miracle cure and can take a few days to ease, but in my experience it can be more effective than simply waiting for them to grow out of it or using every pharmaceutical remedy available.

You can learn techniques through a book or video, but the most effective way is to attend a class run by a local teacher of baby massage.

Louise Prince, devlopmental baby massage instructor, maidenhead, berkshire.
I am a qualified Nursery Nurse and Developmental Baby Massage Instructor among other pre and postnatal therapies. visit