Osteopathy for Babies, Toddlers and Children
What does the osteopath do?
After a thorough case history of the pregnancy, birth and life so far we gently examine the baby thoroughly with an ageapproriate neurological screen as well as an osteopathic examination.
A paediatric osteopath is trained to assess children thoroughly- and if anything comes up that warrants medical attention, referral to the appropriate health care providers is the treatment of choice.
Depending on the findings, we might release tensions with very gentle cranial osteopathy.
This is a very gentle, uninvasive touch that can look quite unspectacular, yet the treatment is very focussed: We quite often treat the head and establish a balance between all the cranial bones again. We work on the whole body -especially with babies- trying to gently unwind them from their compressed pattern. Babies are more settled and are less grouchy the more relaxed their body is.
Why is un-folding so important?
Babies have 9 months of being crammed more and more into a tiny space- quite often sharing it with a twin and lying in breech or transverse position-… and then the forces of birth squish them further together- particularly the head. The clever design of the yet un-fused head bones means those can easily overlap during labor to make the vaginal passage easier.
Most babies un-fold out of this ‘moulding’ of the head within the first few weeks, but quite often some babies may struggle a little bit with this process. These tend to be those newborns where the birth was particularly long, or particularly quick, or the intervention of forceps, ventouse or C-section was needed.
It is those babies and toddlers that we usually see as they need some help to let go of their strain patterns. Sometimes straight after birth as they are clearly in pain and other times years later for something seemingly unrelated.
"As the twig is bent, so the tree grows"
To minimise the effect of the birth on later life and to allow the best start, it is good to have a check-up at some point. The earlier the better, as the younger the child, the easier it is to facilitate a permanent change.
As Children grow up they can still benefit from osteopathic treatment, but osteopaths see them less for sleeping and feeding difficulties and more for injuries on the playground, minor sporting injuries as well as headaches, back and neck pains. Both nervous children and overpowering youngsters find the osteopathic sessions beneficial and very relaxing.
middle ear infections
back pain and neck pain
trauma (physical and emotional)
These complaints are often more pronounced in children delayed social, motor and speech milestones. This is why it is so rewarding to help a child with cerebral palsy, autism, Down's, and other genetic variations- Making their lives a little easier by relaxing their busy little bodies, so that they can focus on all the important stuff.
With older children we start using more traditional osteopathic techniques alongside the gentle cranial osteopathy that is so perfect for babies and toddlers: a lot more stretching, articulation and soft tissue work might be involved- completely depending on the child's current individual needs.