How Can CranioSacral Therapy Help My Infant?

Infant skull anatomy. Reprinted from Furdon SA, Bejamin K. Physical assessment. In: Verklam MT, Walden M, eds. Core Curriculu, for Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing. St. Louis, MO; Elsevier Saunders; 2004

Birth is a traumatic event even in the most ideal of circumstances. The infant skull is made up of 6 very separate bones. These bones are held together by sutures (elastic tissue between the bones). The sutures are what allow the infant's cranial bones to move and overlap during birth so the their head can pass through the birth canal (or a simulated birth canal as in a cesarean birth). Once they are born, the infant's cranial bones must then realign themselves. This process does not always go smoothly; it can cause concerns - mild to severe central nervous system irregularity, head shape concerns, and overlapping cranial bones - to name a few.

Now imagine if the birth did not go as planned. For instance; perhaps they experienced shoulder dystocia, forceps or vacuum extraction was used, or maybe an emergency cesarean was utilized after vaginal delivery did not complete. In these instances, the normal processes that the infant goes through during and post birth was interrupted and the concerns listed above may be more prevalent. It is not your fault that this occurred! It is a symptom of traumatic birth.

Early Intervention

When CranioSacral Therapy is utilized early it can potentially help relieve current symptoms

  • tortocollis

  • colic

  • feeding concerns

  • symptoms from birth injuries

CST can also potentially help avoid a wide spectrum of challenges down the line.

  • plagiocephaly

  • chronic ear infections

  • reflex/digestive disorders

CST can be used alone or combined with other early therapies and interventions.

Tongue Tie

If your infant has been diagnosed with a tongue tie or you suspect they have one, CranioSacral Therapy can help.

Unfortunately many practitioners fail to recognize tongue tie properly. If they do recognize it, they generally send you for a release, known as a frenectomy. Their recommendations generally stop there. A release while often necessary, may not fully relieve the symptoms brought on by a tongue tie because there is more to the dysfunction than a tongue with limited mobility.

A tongue tie is a mid-line (center of the body) dysfunction. Mid-line dysfunction begins at the brain and runs through the mid-line of the body. Therefore the restrictions can also run throughout the mid-line of the body causing many different forms of dysfunction. Therefore, more bodywork is often recommended.

When should I seek out CranioSacral Therapy for my infant?

As soon after birth as possible is ideal to optimize results. However, don't worry. CranioSacral Therapy can still be highly effective in older infants and children.

What does a therapy session look like for my infant?

A Craniosacral Therapy session involves light contact of the therapist's hands with baby’s body to assess the subtle internal rhythms.

The first session will usually start with you holding your baby as you and therapist discuss history and to allow baby to get comfortable with the therapist. The therapist will then start with light touch on the infant with them in your arms. The session will eventually progress to the therapist holding your baby or working on a surface like a massage table if baby is comfortable with that. Sessions can continue through nursing/feeding and sleep.

In some instances baby will fuss while they are working through a release or unwinding. This is normal and we do not label this as distress. However, CranioSacral Therapy is often very calming and baby may fall asleep during a session.

The session is an hour in length though the therapist might not work that entire hour. Instead they will generally work in intervals to allow for rest periods, diaper changes, etc for baby, and parent education.

How many sessions will it take?

How many sessions will depend on baby’s system, the symptoms they are presenting, and the desired outcome. While it is possible considerable change can be achieved in one session, it often takes several sessions over time to achieve desired outcomes.