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Cranial Osteopathy

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Cranial osteopathy, can it help improve your baby’s sleep?

Two-month-old Sophia is Emma’s third child. Contrary to her other children, Emma’s birth was long and difficult. For a week after birth Sophia slept “like a baby” then something changed. Putting her down for naps was becoming a challenge, the intervals at night were getting shorter, Sophia was more irritable, tired and crying more frequent.

A friend advised Emma to try Cranial Osteopathy. But what exactly is Cranial Osteopathy?

Osteopath Inès De Beer explains how it works and what to expect when you bring your baby to see an Osteopath.

Cranial Osteopathy is a gentle manual technique that osteopaths use to treat structures anywhere in the body, but mainly on the cranial parts of the skull. The concept originates as far as hundred years ago when Dr Sutherland discovered bones of the skull were designed to show a slight movement – a motility. Osteopaths are trained in picking up restrictions in these motions and with specific gentle techniques, tensions and strains in the body can be released.

In the case of baby Sophia and so many other infants, working with the mechanical effects from the birth process is the focus of many sessions. Rotational strains in the upper neck and compressive strains in the lower half of the infant’s head are quite common; not only related to the type of birth but also how the baby was positioned in the womb. Those tensions can often lead to sleeplessness, colic, torticollis, preference to turn the head to one side or nurse from one breast, reflux, constipation etc.

Ensuring an optimal mobility of all soft structures is enough to set off the body’s healing process and restore natural equilibrium.

An average of three sessions within the first three months are usually enough to settle these tensions down and for the baby to thrive and develop normally; most babies like the sessions as an experienced osteopath knows perfectly how to respond to the infant, often they sleep or feed throughout the treatments and barely notice.

As for baby Sophia, she responded very well to the treatments. She became more settled within the first sessions, with her sleep improving in both quality and length, giving mum Emma a well-deserved rest!

Inès De Beer works out of The Round Clinic in One Island South.

This article appeared in Playtimes Summer Issue 2019.

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