Babies and Children
Children and babies tend to be very responsive to craniosacral therapy.
Parents commonly bring their babies for Craniosacral Therapy in the first weeks following birth. The baby's mother and/or father will usually be invited to be part of the session and as the baby responds to treatment, this can deepen the bonds within the family.
Even in a normal delivery the process of being born puts enormous strain on the baby. As the baby passes through the mother's pelvis and birth canal, the head and neck are subject to compressive forces, these can affect some of the nerves that control sucking, swallowing and digestion. Plus can cause other symptoms like restlessness, problems sleeping, the baby being unsettled. Colic can be connected to restrictions in the neck, base of the cranium or diaphragm. Craniosacral therapy is very gentle touch and most babies only need a few treatments to show a significant improvement.
For babies who have had a traumatic birth, maybe involving forceps, Ventouse or Caesarean delivery, states of overactivity or underactivity in their nervous system can lead to crying, restlessness or inability to feed, withdrawal, lack of engagement or excessive sleeping. Restoring balance to the nervous system has a remarkable effect on the baby's well-being (and that of the parents).
There is not a lot to observe in a craniosacral session, the therapist will often place a hand under the baby/child's sacrum or around their head. Nothing is done without the baby/child's and parents permission. Babies and children can be very sensitive to touch, especially around the head. The therapist is looking for subtle signs in the baby/child's behaviour and response to the treatment.
The membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord comprise the body's craniosacral system. Any restrictions in the membranes can directly affect the central nervous system performance, causing a wide range of sensory, motor, and neurological problems. The craniosacral therapist palpates the system to locate and release restrictions in the body that impair nervous system functioning.
Craniosacral therapy can assist infants in releasing restrictive patterns in the body, and can be extremely valuable for a baby/child that has a compromised nervous system and/or developmental delays. It can also help with increasing functional skills.
Parents about their son after a few sessions: "He's so much quieter, calmer and relaxed, his sleeping is good, and he's even trying to talk, even school has commented."
Working with Children
I am a Feldenkrais practitioner who has taken practice-orientated advanced training with Nancy Aberle and Lynn Bullock called 'Working with Children' 2014-2015. This is an advanced training for Feldenkrais Practitioners with theory and techniques from the Anat Baniel Method for children. I attended this training in Malmo Sweden to help gain more experience in working with children and babies with brain damage and neurological difficulties.
Since 2018 I am training with Michelle Turner - 'Movement Lesson', with its origins in the Anat Baniel Method, Feldenkrais and her own experience of having a child with cerebral palsy.
Feldenkrais uses movement for learning and discovery; it changes our bodies by teaching the brain and stimulating the nervous system. For children movement and play is used to help stimulate the brain, create new neural pathways, reduce muscular effort and reduce restrictions so they can regain control of their bodies.
"Movement is everywhere. We can choose any movement we are already doing in our life and bring attention to it. By combining attention and movement we activate millions of brain cells. We can also bring more and new movement into our lives. Movement involves our bodies, our thoughts, our feelings and our emotions." Anat Baniel
Moshe Feldenkrais demonstrated that by developing innovative exercises, even when damaged, the brain has the ability to change and learn new skills and recover lost function. Neuroscience today acknowledges brain plasticity or neuroplasticity: the brain's ability to reorganise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. This allows neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and disease, and adjust their activities in response to stimuli, situations and changes. Neuroscience research indicates that experience can actually change both the brains physical structure and functional organisation
Parents after their baby had a few sessions: "Really pleased we found you, you're really helping, thank you"