I use two therapies in my work with babies and children and describe them below. Children usually respond more quickly to treatment than adults, and treatments can be shorter also – it is important not to overload as babies can be incredibly sensitive. Three sessions is usually enough to see if treatment can have some beneficial reactions so I offer a reduction for 3 sessions. I often teach/show parents to do home treatment with shonishin – babies and children love recieving this gentle therapy.
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 such a relief for all.
The emergent field of pre and perinatal psychology is helping us understand that consciousness is present from the moment of conception and that in the womb the personality begins to develop. Scientists now appreciate how even in the womb babies are picking up on emotions experienced by the mother. On top of this, 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 – and impact on them as any trauma would. Even caesarian births, with the shock of sudden removal from the womb, are potentially traumatic to a baby when they are so incredibly sensitive to changes in environment. A newborn is so vulnerable and open to receiving information and stimuli – in order to help the bonding process.
Babies communicate distress through body language and crying. When a baby cries, yet all their immediate needs have seemingly been met, parents can feel so helpless. This type of crying, which is not related to an infant’s obvious needs, 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’ has a different quality to needs crying and both parents and baby can become frustrated and stressed – leading, unfortunately, to a cycle of stress.
In this cycle of stress the infant’s digestive system can also be affected. Stress related digestive problems can cause discomfort and lead to more stress and crying. The cycle of stress for a little one can become worse.
The slow and gentle approach of CST aims to break this cycle of distress.
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.
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. Most importantly the techniques are easy to learn and can be taught to parents to use safely on their children.
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”