Craniosacral Therapy- can it help your baby sleep better?

 

Both of my children have received  Craniosacral Therapy. One for travel sickness and my youngest, having had a traumatic birth with shoulder dystosia was very shell shocked (and blue!) when she arrived – in her first weeks she was incredibly fractious and I wanted to see if craniosacral Therapy might help so I contacted Liz – she is fabulous.

 

Liz Kalinowska is a Registered Craniosacral Therapist with more than 20 years experience, here she explains a bit about Craniosacral Therapy and how it can help babies!


Birth can be a difficult experience for any baby. However calm and peaceful the setting for a delivery, it is still an enormously important moment of transition for the whole family.

 

If an emergency situation should develop, stress levels can be heightened to extremely intense levels for both mother and baby. We have all experienced how stress affects our body, and babies can suffer in much the same way as we do. The strong compressions and anxieties that accompany a journey through the narrow birth canal, or the shock that results from an unexpected Caesarean delivery can remain in the body tissues for long after birth, giving rise to physical discomfort and disturbed sleep patterns. As adults we have poor sleep when uncomfortable, worried or tense and reflecting on this may help us to understand how a small baby who has recently been through the gruelling experience of labour might be similarly affected. Even though his or her mother provides essential reassurance and comfort, the strong emotional bond between a mother and baby means that the baby will probably be aware of all his/her mother’s fears and worries. Although an emotional connection between them is natural and necessary, it may also mean that he/she remains hyper-alert and unable to fully relax and release patterns created by the pressures exerted on him/her during birth.

 

Craniosacral Therapy brings a calm and neutral perspective to the situation, helping your baby to settle both physically and emotionally. By placing hands gently both on and under his head and body, the therapist sensitively tunes in, highlighting for him/her where he/she is feeling uncomfortable,encouraging both a softening and release of tension in the muscles and a settling of any accompanying emotional components. There is usually visible relaxation and an easing out of the baby’s whole body during treatment. Once he/she is more comfortable, your baby is less likely to wake, and his/her sleep can deepen as a consequence.

 

Areas where we typically find stress, even in an apparently trouble free delivery are in the neck, throughout the spine, and in the legs. Your baby uses his/her legs to help you push him/her through the birth canal, and if he/she finds the process long and arduous he/she may retain some frustration in his/her legs and pelvis. The spine undergoes a lot of pressure during birth, and  the shock of a protracted labour or emergency caesarean may mean that foetal positioning and ‘fight or flight ‘ nervous activation is maintained after birth. A cramped tense position makes lying on the back uncomfortable, and has effects on the digestive system that can also contribute to wakefulness. If the cord was around a baby’s neck, there may be a legacy of extreme reactivity in this area, causing discomfort when lying flat. All of this may interfere with sleep.

 

Craniosacral Therapy treatment can help a baby to experience a more tranquil quality of sleep. It encourages deeper relaxation and means there is less likelihood of him/her developing  digestive disturbances like colic which are often due to stress. It is also highly recommended for mothers to have treatment too, because they will often be pretty tense themselves if they are worrying about a new baby’s wellbeing. Just watching their baby have a Craniosacral session can be a very calming and reassuring process for parents, and may lead to more peaceful nights for all!

 

Liz operates in Richmond, SW London www.lizcraniosacral.co.uk/

Why we wrote Every Body Tells a Story

 

As practitioners of Craniosacral Therapy, we often find it a struggle to describe what it is that we do as we work with our clients. It is even harder to try and explain how so much change can occur through just placing your hands on the body and waiting to see what happens. This is indeed mysterious and transformative work, and often feels truly alchemical.

In early 2014 Daska and I sat down to write about how we view our work and to describe how strongly the feminine principle impacts and influences our practice. An early motivation was the fact that very few women have been published in our field despite so many practitioners being female. Daska has a lifelong love of mythology, and I had attended a workshop which used the Hero’s Journey as an inspiration for writing stories and novels. We believe that all ancient stories and myths echo not only the amazing and tortuous odyssey of life as a whole but also the smaller journeys that we travel in a lifetime. Our aim was to find a way to draw together the strands of our convictions in a meaningful way and illustrate the pathway towards better overall health that is sometimes experienced through a series of treatment sessions. Our own experience has taught us that we should also describe the challenges that present themselves for those involved. In a therapeutic relationship a client and her practitioner go through a complex process as they work together and we wanted to make it clear that it is not always plain sailing, even though the benefits are ultimately impressive. We were clear that what we were saying didn’t only apply to our own therapies, Craniosacral Therapy and Alexander Technique, but to everybody who practices some form of bodywork, and indeed to all the healing professions, both conventional and alternative. Being with someone in a therapeutic relationship requires, above all, feminine instincts for listening and waiting, coupled with an understanding that naming and treating a disease is less important than attempting to understand and value the person who is suffering it. These skills are feminine and intuitive in nature and recognise that both physical and emotional problems respond better where there is an empathic interaction between client and therapist. There is more chance of a successful and long-lasting outcome where that connection exists.

Liz Kalinowska

June 2016

What is Craniosacral Therapy?

Living in Barnes articleCraniosacral therapist, Liz Kalinowska explores how Craniosacral Therapy works.

(taken from Living in Barnes magazine)

Craniosacral Therapy, or CST for short, is not as perplexing as it sounds. It is, quite simply, a very gentle form of bodywork which suits people of all ages. Craniosacral Therapists believe that we all have an innate ability to balance and restore ourselves, but that this skill sometimes needs  some outside help, especially at those times when we are particularly vulnerable  to overloading ourselves. One example of this is the Christmas period, when physical and emotional tensions often run high.

CST is already well known for the treatment of babies and children, especially those who have symptoms resulting from a difficult birth such as colic, sleeping and feeding difficulties. What is perhaps less known is its suitability for those who are experiencing high levels of stress of any description. Although stress is unavoidable these days, and we are designed to cope with a certain amount, overwhelm is always a possibility, and symptoms can arise which may eventually lead to serious illness. The symptoms of stress might appear random and mysterious, and are often poorly understood. Worrying about health can only add to the burden of stress upon us and our body.

The balanced, natural approach of CST helps the body rest and recover from stress overload by addressing it at it’s core, and relief may be experienced on mental, physical and emotional levels. The light listening touch of CST awakens your body to a deeper awareness and recognition of where tension is held and how to safely release it. Although whilst you are receiving CST, you might find that the hand contact is almost imperceptible, your body may surprise you in the depth of its response.

A CST session typically lasts an hour, and you will remain fully clothed and lie comfortably on a couch. Babies can be fed on their mother’s lap during their treatment if necessary. Most therapists will have books and toys to entertain smaller children. The elderly are particularly suited to CST because of its gentle approach and  soft warming touch. Over a series of treatments many of your deep and long-held tensions, both physical and emotional could benefit from this  non-invasive approach. As a general rule, people who have experienced it report that CST brings about a better sense of well-being, balance and mental clarity, and the results are often much more profound than they had expected.

Liz Kalinowska FCSTA, RCST

(taken from Living in Barnes magazine)

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