Huge forces and pressures on a baby’s head during the birth process means that coming into the world can, for some babies, be extremely traumatic. Even caesarian births, with the shock of sudden removal from the womb, are potentially traumatic to a baby when they are so sensitive to changes in environment. A newborn is so vulnerable and open to receiving information and stimuli to help bond with nurturing caregivers. It takes 20 years to raise a human and the sense of safety a baby feels to be in the world is fundamental for their development. Scientists now appreciate how even in the womb babies are picking up on the stress experienced by the mother: babies born in states of famine or near 9/11 in USA have shown epigenetic changes – changes to their genetic code where certain genes were ‘switched off’ and not able to be read. This is however reversible and one area of research for modern medicine is focussed on how this genetic code ‘switching off’ can be reversed – to help, for example, in the treatment of cancer. It may be that forms of traditional medicines like acupuncture, and newer healing therapies like craniosacral therapy, which so clearly work on the body’s stress response, are impacting on a person and positively influencing the genetic coding. We are a very long way from understanding how healing really works.
Babies communicate distress through body language and crying. When a baby cries, yet all their immediate needs have seemingly been met, parents can feel helpless. This second type of crying has been termed ‘memory crying’ by Karlton Terry, an expert in the field of babies’ body language. Memory crying can be accompanied by repetitive movements that signify a particular trauma is being replayed, or that there is discomfort in an area of the body. This ‘memory crying’, seemingly without an obvious present reason, has a different quality to needs crying and both parents and baby can become frustrated and stressed – leading to a cycle of stress. The digestion of an infant is affected by stress – stress related digestive problems can cause discomfort and lead to more stress and crying. The slow and gentle approach of craniosacral therapy can help break the cycle. Craniosacral therapy can help a baby to feel deeply heard, and assist parents to attune to and meet the needs of their little one, which is a relief for all.
Babies can sometimes seem to go into a deeply relaxed state of being with a craniosacral therapy, which is done with caregivers present and often holding the little one to bring comfort and ease. Sometimes a session with the mother is also helpful, as birth and lack of sleep can take it’s toll. There is a saying in Chinese medicine, which I believe holds very true, that when the child is screaming – support and nurture the mother.
Gift vouchers are available if you would like to offer a baby (or their parents), this wonderful therapy as a gift.
I specialise in Shonisin, which is Japanese pediatric acupuncture. This style of acupuncture for children does not involve painful needling and treatment is a very enjoyable experience involving stroking, tapping and rubbing. Shonishin is great for toddlers and older children – where settling down on a couch can be hard sometimes.
A wide range of conditions can be potentially helped including: respiratory problems, skin problems, behavioural and emotional issues, sleep, bedwetting, ear and nose problems. Vitality and general health and wellbeing can also be improved and, most importantly, parents are taught techniques to help their child at home, and are an important part of the treatment process.
Case history – 5 year old boy with night time enuresis
Charlie came to see me with his mum, Penny, in August 2016. He wet his bed 5 or 6 nights a week and was very demoralised. He struggled to get to sleep because of fear of wetting the bed, and would wake late, feeling tired, and struggling to get up.
I treated Charlie with craniosacral therapy and shonishin and showed Penny how to do shonishin herself. These two treatments combine really well for children of Charlie’s age and they love receiving treatment from their parents. The physical contact of shonishin brings closeness and reassurance – and it can be a fun routine for a child.
After the first treatment Charlie was getting to sleep more easily and waking up less tired. This improvement continued after the second treatment and by the fourth session his bedwetting began to improve.
I left it to Penny to continue with the shonishin and return if needed, as Charlie seemed to be doing so well.
One year on and Penny has been in touch to say that she and Charlie are absolutely delighted to report that Charlie has been dry at night for six months.
“We are all delighted with his achievement and it was your guidance that put us on the right track. Your relaxed approach and environment really gave us the confidence to work through this stressful time. Thank you so much”