Cranial Osteopathy can be useful for problems such as colic, reflux, constipation, excessive crying, disturbed sleep patterns, feeding difficulties, a dislike of lying on their front or back, favouring turning their head to one side or if baby has a flat or distorted head. Philip can check if your baby has any pressure in the head, or strain in the neck or back, or tension in the diaphragm, and he can help reduce both stress in the musculoskeletal system and irritability of the nervous system. It is highly recommended that you take your baby to an osteopath if your baby should have a fall and is distressed afterwards. Many parents take their baby to an osteopath who uses cranial techniques for a post-natal check-up, especially if the baby was in an unusual position in the womb, had birth trauma (such as a very long delivery, anoxia, forceps, ventouse, breach or posterior positions), a caesarean section or a fast delivery (the compression of the head in the birth canal helps the cranial rhythm). Philip sees most babies twice, a week apart. In most cases there is a significant improvement. Sometimes there is a partial improvement after two treatments and the parent(s) would like additional treatment to go a bit further. Philip does not usually recommend additional treatment if there is no noticeable improvement after two treatments. Colic in particular can be multi-factorial, and it may be necessary to try different approaches. Although it is distressing and hard work to have a colicky baby, and everyone wants their baby to be happy, it should be remembered that colicky babies invariably grow into happy toddlers.
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Cranial osteopathy or “Osteopathy in the Cranial Field' involves the osteopath applying the principals of osteopathy to a very subtle, rhythmical motion that is present in all body tissues, but felt most strongly in the cranial bones and sacrum (the part of the spine within the pelvis). This is called the 'Involuntary Motion' or the 'Cranial Rhythm' or the 'Primary Respiratory Mechanism'. Primary because it underlies all of life's processes. Respiratory as it moves through the body and gives rise to the breath. Mechanism because it is a system composed of many parts that together create a whole which is greater than the sum of those parts.
It is thought that there is a rhythmic fluctuation in the cerebro-spinal fluid, which is within the ventricles of the brain, and between the brain, spinal cord and the meninges. The meninges surround the brain and spinal cord and the strong outer layer connects to the cranial and spinal nerves, which in turn connects to the fascia (the connective tissue that surrounds and connects every tissue and organ of the body). The movement is of very small amplitude, therefore it takes practitioners with a very finely developed sense of touch to feel it. This rhythm was first described in 1929 by William G. Sutherland DO.
Osteopaths who use cranial osteopathy can feel tension, blockages and torsion patterns in the cranial rhythm, showing them what stresses and strains your body is under at present, and what tensions you may be carrying as a result of its past experiences. When someone experiences a physical injury or emotional stress their body tissues tend to tighten up. The body may have been able to adapt to these effects at the time, but a lasting strain often remains. These remaining strains can restrict the cranial movement. The body can usually adapt to strains and stresses, but as they build up the bodies capacity to adapt the the stresses and strains may be overwhelmed and symptoms may develop. The passage of a babies head through the birth canal severely compresses its head, but is a natural event that helps to start the cranial rhythm, though a slow delivery can cause excess compression, and a fast delivery or caesarean can result in a weak rhythm. Both can contribute towards colic and/or reflux. Lying in an unusual position in the womb can cause a torsion pattern. Assisted deliveries can result in compression and torsion, however difficult deliveries do not always cause a problem, and sometimes babies have problems following perfect deliveries. A torsion pattern can result in baby favouring its head to be turned one way which often results in a flat head. An osteopath using cranial osteopathy can tune into the cranial rhythm and rebalance it using very gentle pressure so that it is free moving, regular, of good amplitude and without torsion. This helps to remove stresses throughout the body and relieve the symptoms that they have caused.
Cranial osteopathy is usually learned as a post-graduate study. Philip Bayliss studied cranial osteopathy with the Sutherland Cranial Teaching Foundation. An osteopath called John E. Upledger DO researched cranial osteopathy at the Michigan State University from 1975 to 1983 and developed his own treatment style which he called craniosacral therapy and is taught by the Upledger Institute, largely to non-osteopaths. Cranial osteopathy is not practised by all osteopaths. Osteopaths who use cranial or indirect techniques call themselves cranial osteopaths. Cranial osteopaths refer to conventional osteopaths as structural osteopaths. Philip is both a cranial osteopath and a structural osteopath.
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Philip Bayliss, Registered Osteopath, 43 Thames Street, St Albans, Christchurch, NZ. ☎️03 356 1353