The wife said to me she’d booked in some cranial osteopathy (mumbo jumbo) with her sexy french osteopath! As you can imagine, I was keen to go along, purely so I could check out just how sexy and just how french he was. There was also the secondary interest of finding out exactly what cranial osteopathy was.
I’m sure that we all know that osteopathy is basically releasing stresses, strains and tensions from our bodies that build up from going about our daily life. So my first question was:
#1 A baby hardly ‘goes about it’s daily life’ so why would it have built up stresses, strains and tensions?
Well, the osteopath (the sexy frenchman, who was annoyingly sexy and very french) rightly said that birth is the first trauma of your life. Not giving birth, but actually for the baby. The baby has to navigate it’s way through a very tight and windy path, hopefully head first; this is a persons very first trauma. Going from living an aquatic life, warm and dark to having to breathe in the cold and bright lights is a huge change. During this process the head is forced through the birth canal and pelvis, and there really is no room to spare. This means the head and diaphragm are subject to enormous forces from the uterus contracting.
The baby’s head is well designed, being made up of plates that move during this process. The soft cranial bones overlap absorbing a lot of the pressure from the pushing, but as you can imagine, this can cause the babies head to be slightly odd shaped. If the baby is struggling the doctors might use forceps or ventouse to extract the baby – but as we all know babies are designed to be pushed out, not pulled. This method of delivery can result in even more deformed head shapes. A lot of the time, the head shape does return to normal within a few days but the pressure, strains and tensions in the skull can remain. And it’s this stress and tension that needs releasing from the cranial osteopathy.
The baby might feel uncomfortable from these pressures that remain from the birth and it can be accentuated when the baby is lying down as it adds to the pressure. This could be a reason why your baby is struggling to settle when put down or when feeding.
#2 If it’s called cranial osteopathy, why is he working on his diaphragm?
By now I too had been totally mesmerised by the sexyness, the frenchness and the wealth of knowledge this godlike man was radiating. In my typical british fashion, I was confused as to why he was working on his diaphragm but I didn’t ask. I was in total awe! But luckily, in his typical french fashion he picked up on this and helpfully explained.
He said that a baby is basically a tube that feeds in one end, excretes at the other and breathes in the middle. These are it’s main functions and result in growth as it’s primary function. Therefore if the diaphragm isn’t working fully, the breathing bit (which affects feeding, winding and colic), can be much harder than it should be. The same reasons apply for the diaphragm as for the head in regards to why it might have some stress, tension or strain. This does seem to make sense – if your diaphragm is sore from being mangled through a vagina then having those strains released could make the world of difference.
#3 What does releasing pressure actually mean?
I release pressure through passing wind (farting) all the time. And it feels good. It is a release! But how can some slight manipulation of the body release pressure? (Normally it takes more than that for me!) Well, potentially there may be some trapped air somewhere between joints or in a muscle and manipulating the body can release that air. There’s also the fact that some osteopathy realigns the body to where it should be. From my point of view, it’s these things that ‘release’ the stress and tension and that makes a lot of sense to me.*
So, the sexy french osteopath had his sexy french hands working his magic on the boy. He started off screaming but within a few seconds was out cold as if he’d waved a magic wand. Maybe he too was mesmerised by the wonders of the osteopath! The boy was relaxed, calm and happy for most of it, although did cry and one point. He wasn’t really uncomfortable, he wasn’t hurt and he certainly wasn’t in any pain.
I can see that some parents might think this is hocus pocus that could hurt the baby. Not in our case.
Has it helped? Well, I certainly think that the boy is more chilled out. He goes down on his own in his cot well, he sleeps well and he generally feeds well. It certainly hasn’t had a negative effect.
I wish I was french. And sexy. And clever.
*There are a lot of different types of osteopathy, some that is very forceful and strong and some that’s very gentle. Has your baby ever had cranial osteopathy? What was your experience like?
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