Top 3 Reasons CranioSacral Therapy is Right for You and Your Baby
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If you haven’t heard of CranioSacral Therapy (CST), now is the time. Our society is so full of constant input and our systems have reached a state of overwhelm.
When you decide to add a family to the mix of it all, overwhelm then becomes something much bigger and our bodies begin to protest. You feel exhausted or irritable, you start to create habits that don’t support you even though you think that they are, and your life generally starts living you instead of you living it.
CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a very gentle form of bodywork that addresses the Central Nervous System (CNS), and can assist in bringing it back to a more neutral state instead of being hyper-alert and always “on.” When you have a family, it’s not just you anymore. You have to be “on” all of the time because now you have so much more to be responsible for.
Let’s look more deeply at why CST can help you.
1. You’re a husband or partner in child-rearing
Being the supporting partner in creating a family tends to be a little less rewarding that perhaps one may initially have thought it would have been. There is a level of stress that typically goes unnoticed because there’s a baby in the house that needs so much moment to moment care.
The partner that you used to come home to, who was once interested in your day is now handing a child over to you and is so exhausted that she may not even see you beyond the babies needs.
This emotional strain of providing the blind necessities of life and then no longer having the depth of connection you may have once had strains the nervous system. This strain leaves the body with little of the much needed dopamine and other “happy” hormones that cause us to feel lifted in our lives and connected to those around us.
While CST work won’t provide a lasting boost of dopamine in your system, it does allow the brain to dump out some of the other stress hormones that are building up and essentially “reboot” the hard drive computer of the brain, thus allowing an individual to find a place of neutrality and go back into the world with a fresh view on life.
I have found in my practice that the most common benefit of CST work is an individual’s ability to rest, sleep, and not have the wheels spinning in their heads so fast or for so long. It can also help with any physical responses, like headaches, jaw clenching, and general constriction going on in your muscular system.
2. You have difficulty with breastfeeding or you have a fussy child
I want you to meet “Sam.” He’s a fussy baby that doesn’t sleep well, and nursing is a challenge. Mom is exhausted and is doing a lot on her own with her partner traveling for work on a regular basis. Sam is not yet a month old and when you “should” be in a blissful postpartum period, this is not happening for this mom.
The next part is what I love the most about CST and newborns. While we’re working on Sam’s latching challenges, he starts to fall asleep. In this place the rhythm of the cerebral spinal fluid (the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord moves to reflect this and is palpable) starts to shift. I begin to follow this and feel deeper restrictions in the tissue in the brain as it pulls into the restriction that he had in his neck. As we work with this deeper restriction, he settles deeper, and deeper. Mom notices the shift in Sam, feeling him get heavy, his breath is deeper and softer; he looks like he’s in another world.
Sam leaves the session, still asleep while we transfer him into his car seat (Yeah, right! Like that EVER happens!!!), and I get a message from his mom that he slept for 3 hours that afternoon. At a later session, he still is resting wonderfully and we’re just checking in because he took a fall. Sam is still rocking a balanced nervous system. I’m so grateful, and mom is too.
CST work is so amazing with the newborns. In many instances I have found a very common trait among newborns with latching issues or almost any other challenge, as I mentioned with Sam. They typically hold their head to one side and have difficulty turning to the other side without using their chest and shoulders to get there. This is called torticollis. You can find a lot of information online about this, and please, don’t get google happy. It is simple and not anything to panic about. This restriction is found in the neck and base of the scull. A few times I have found that it originates lower in the body and a child is also showing signs of reflux or painful gas.
Applying CST work and even chiropractic (both by practitioners that are specifically trained with infants, PLEASE!) can help with this type of restriction. Again, CST is very gentle work that affects the fascial layer of tissue (connective tissue that holds everything together…the clear shiny stuff in chicken when you pull the skin away from the meat). When there is a rotation, it pulls on this tissue and thus continues pulling throughout the body. Quite similarly to a thread in your favorite sweater when it snags on a bracelet or on your partners watch when they grabbed you the other day to give you some much needed affection. (Hey, we have to keep that in the forefront of our minds, right??!!) This does need to be addressed as it can lead to other challenges as your child grows and can resurface later in life during developmental shifts.
3. You gave birth
With someone properly trained in CST work for Obstetrics, you will find a therapist that has the ability to work with not only your hormones like I stated above, but you will also find someone who is trained to work with the uterus and the surrounding tissue and ligaments. All work is done outside of the body to access your pelvic floor and your uterus to gently release any fascial restrictions that have been created by doubling in size over 38 weeks and then having to shrink right back down in the matter of a week or so.
Your body has done some amazing things and it needs time to heal and reorganize itself. From a physical perspective, CST work can ever so gently work on the tissue that has bound up and is now causing problems from a prolapsed uterus (ie: cramping with your cycle, difficulty with intercourse, inability to fully empty your bladder, etc…) to low back pain caused by the tension on the ligaments that attach to the bones of your pelvis and hold the uterus upright.
Even a mom that has had a C-birth can have any of the aforementioned challenges and now can add scar tissue to the mix. It is best to get in as soon as you can postpartum as the tissue is more pliable and responds more easily versus in five years when you finally feel like you have your “life” back.