Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cranio Sacral Therapy + Osteopathy

We took Asher to a doctor of osteopathy yesterday to treat his sleep problems /recurrent ear infections. He fell deep asleep immediately after the treatment. Last night he had trouble falling asleep and woke up at 5:30 am. We're going back next monday.

We took Elliot to see dr. sorrel when he was 6 months old because of his birth trauma and we saw a marked difference in his temperment. Here is some information about DOs and cranio sacral therapy.

Doctor of Osteopathy
DOs are licensed for the full practice of medicine and surgery in all 50 states. Osteopaths are completely equivalent to MDs in law and every other aspect. Osteopaths become surgeons and all are able to prescribe controlled medications. Each state determines the tests and procedures for licensing its physicians. In some states, the same tests are given to DOs and MDs; other states administer separate licensing exams.

According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), osteopathic medicine is a complete system of healthcare with a philosophy that combines the needs of the patient with the current practice of medicine. Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs) practice a whole-person approach, which means they consider both the physical and mental needs of their patients.

A key part of osteopathic medicine is a technique called OMT, or osteopathic manipulative treatment. OMT allows physicians to use their hands as a primary tool to diagnose and treat illness and injury. This form of manual medicine lets DOs examine the back and other parts of the body, such as joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, for pain and restriction during motion that could signal an injury or impaired function.

What is Cranio Sacral Therapy?
Cranio-sacral therapy is a comprehensive therapy which can be used effectively for the treatment of many conditions at all ages. It is extremely gentle, non-invasive, and causes no discomfort or disturbance to the client; nor does it have any risks or adverse side effects. It is, for this reason, particularly suitable for the treatment of babies and children.

In treating the cranio-sacral system, the practitioner is seeking out and identifying areas of restriction, compression or tension through the body which may in turn be impeding proper function of organs, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and body tissues in general. These restrictions may be the result of injury, infection, inflammation, erncstional tension or underlying pathologies. They may also be caused by the compressive pressures of the birth process.

How cranio-sacral therapy works
Treatment consists of the practitioner placing his or her hands very gently on the body, identifying the areas of restriction or tension, and following the subtle internal pulls and twists manifested by the cranio-sacral system until points of resistance are encountered and released, thereby enabling the tissues to return to proper healthy futiction. The therapist seeks to restore balance to the cranio-sacral system, thereby enabling it to restore proper function to the affected part of the body.

Treatment is generally soothing, comforting and pleasant, and creates a sense of ease, calmness and well-being. Babies can be treated while cradled in the mother’s arms and even better, while asleep. There is no need to disturb the child by undressing them, since the cranio-sacral patterns can be clearly felt through clothes (or even nappies).

Birth trauma
One area to which cranio-sacral therapy is particularly relevant is birth trauma, the effects of which can cause many common childhood conditions, from minor ailments such as glue car to much more severe disabilities such as spasticity.

During the birth process, the baby’s head is forcefully compressed as it twists through thc narrow birth canal. To allow passage, the cranium of a new-born baby is not a solid, bony structure but a soft membranous balloon, designed to adapt readily and pliably to the rigorous pressures of the birth process.

However, intense compression of this delicate structure over many hours, as is often the case, pushes the bones of the cranium up against each other and distorts the shape of the head. This is normal, and unavoidable, but if any of the cranial bones remain at all distorted, or if they fail to release completely, the distortions may prevent the proper formation of the skull, and thereby affect development of the brain or impinge on associated structures such as nerves and blood vessels.

The body’s inherent self-healing powers are usually able to remould the compressed cranium back into its normal shape. However this innate remoulding is not always completely successful; and the degree to which the restrictions and compressions are resolved varies considerably from individual to individual. If the labour has been long and hard, with the baby stuck in the birth canal with its head engaged, the distortions are likely to be more firmly imprinted and less readily resolved by nature. Even where the birth process has been relatively straightforward, restrictions or compressions may persist and these may in turn inhibit full and proper growth and development.

The effects of these cranial bone restrictions will vary considerably. The most severe cases can lead to cerebral palsy, autism, or epilepsy; less severe cases may result in dyslexia, learning difficulties, hyperactivity, and squint. It can also be linked with other minor common childhood complaints, such as allergies and asthma, as well as general health and well-being.

Ear infections
Recurrent ear infections, otitis media, and glue car are very common in early childhood. and are all suitable for treatment by cranio-sacral therapy. They arise from an accunsulation and stagnation of fluids in the middle ear, behind the ear drum, which leads to infection (often recurrent) and could result in partial or even total hearing loss. The stagnation indicates lack of proper drainage from the middle ear of the accumulated fluids, which should normally pass via the eustachian tube (or auditory tube) running from the middle ear to empty into the nasopharyngeal cavity at the back of the mouth.

Constriction of the eustachian tube may occur as a result of compression or distortion during the birth process; blockage of the tube may arise due to the accumulation of mucus. Treatment of the compressions and tensions in the surrounding area by cranio-sacral therapy will generally remove the constrictions, clear the obstruction, and ensure the free drainage of fluids. Successful treatment relieves the immediate symptoms, restores proper hearing, and therefore proper learning and speech development, and reduces the risk of total hearing loss. It can also reduce the need for antibiotics, and the invasive processes of inserting grommets and other ear, nose and throat operations, including tonsillectomy.

Colic (and associated ailments) is another condition in young babies for which cranio-sacral therapy is appropriate, and for which it has been found to be effective. Classic colic involves prolonged inconsolable screaming for several hours, with no apparent cause, generally in the early evening. Accompanying symptoms include regurgitation of feeds, excessive wind, inability to bring up wind, projectile vomiting, and obvious pain.

To treat most cases of colic or colic-like conditions, the cranio-sacral therapist concentrates on the principal areas: the cranial base and the solar plexus region. The first, the cranial base, concerns the occipital bone and its relationship with the atlas - vertebra (Cl). The cranial base is the area most susceptible to compression and distortion during the birth process, due to its location and the direction of the pressure exerted on this area by the baby’s passage through the birth canal. It is also an area of vital importance to the overall health and functioning of all individuals, as it is close to many other important structures. These include the jugular foramen, a hole in the base of the skull between the occiput and the temporal bones, through which passes the vagus nerve, or nerve X. This provides the main parasympathetic nerve supply to most of the digestive system; its compression can lead to over-stimulation of the nerve, causing persistent spasm of the digestive organs and, consequently, colic.

It is perhaps often assumed that because babies are not rational or verbal they do not experience shock and trauma in the same way as adults, or to think that a baby going through the natural process of birth and being lovingly cared for should not be experiencing shock and trauma. But the process of birth is itself often difficult and traumatic for both mother and baby. If the birth is difficult, the labour prolonged, or the baby stuck in the birth canal for many hours, then the shock and trauma absorbed into the system may be immense.

Arrival in the outside world may induce further shock and trauma as the baby emerges suddenly into a busy, brightly lit, and often noisy environment after seclusion in the womb. The process of being washed and weighed and the immediate handling and aftercare of the baby are also a dramatic change from the previous nine months. Ideally every baby should be allowed to come into the world slowly, be placed immediately on the mother’s breast, and allowed to acclimatise gradually to its new environment before being subjected to the less comfortable practical processes of life after birth.

A particularly common cause of shock is the premature cutting of the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is the lifeline through which the baby has received all its oxygen and nutrition throughout its time in the womb. As the baby emerges into the world, the cord continues to provide these essential nutrients for several minutes after the birth. The sudden severance of this lifeline can come as an unnecessary shock, which is then absorbed into the solar plexus and umbilical areas and manifests as a tension and tightness in the cranio-sacral system around these areas (with consequent effects on the surrounding viscera as already described).

It is also very common to find a profound sense of shock held in the solar plexus of babies born by caesarean section. This shock is incurred at the time of the incision, when the fluid pressure within the womb changes very suddenly, causing both physical and emotional shock to the baby. This frequently manifests as a sense of seizing up throughout the body; as contraction, closing down and tightness in the head, and as tension and tightness in the solar plexus.

In the case of enforced caesarean section, when the baby’s head has been engaged and under pressure for a prolonged and stressful period and subsequently caesarean section is performed out of necessity, then the baby suffers the worst of both worlds. It is subjected both to severe pressures on the cranium and to the shock effects of the caesarean section.

Shock may result from many other physical and emotional causes, including tension picked up from the mother, and other underlving stresses and tensions between the parents, in the environment, or in family relationships in general.

Other conditions
Treatment by cranio-sacral therapy can also be effective for a wide range of other conditions common in childhood: mucus congestion, catarrh, ear, nose and throat problems, constipation and diarrhoea, obsessional behaviour, personality disorders, and tantrums. All these can be related to cranial boric restrictions, as can hyperactivity, head-banging — which is often an attempt by the child to release uncomfortable cranial bone restrictions — and forceful sucking of the thumb and other objects (particularly when pushed hard against the roof of the mouth), which may reflect restriction in the bones of the palate or between the vomer and the sphenoid bone.oid muscle.

by Thomas Atlee

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