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Welcome to The Maris Practice Blog. Here you will find musings, reflections and information about best practice in alternative therapies. We hope you find it useful and interesting.

What is Cranial Paediatric Osteopathy and how can it help your child?


Osteopathy is a complementary treatment, a drug and surgery free approach which looks at the whole body to identify issues. Cranial Osteopathy involves specific osteopathic techniques which work to bring about health by releasing tension and returning balance and vitality throughout the body.

In the early 1900’s, Dr William Sutherland identified a rhythmical shape change that occurs in body tissues and called it the Cranial Rhythm (or Involuntary Motion).This is perceptible through most parts of the body but frequently most obvious at the cranium or sacrum, in the pelvis. Scientific tests in the laboratory have since confirmed the existence of this rhythm*. Accidents, birth, emotional stress can cause long-term tensions in the body that outlast the visible signs of the trauma. These tensions disrupt the Cranial Rhythm. As an example adults and older children who complain about headaches which when investigated the cause may date back to an occurrence several years prior.

Very young babies can be impacted by unresolved strains from birth. This can cause on-going discomfort. As a parent it isn’t often easy to identify the reason for their crying! If you think about the birth process; the head is subject to significant forces during its trip down the birth canal. This causes compression in the skull which needs to recover after birth. Additionally if problems occur which result in the use of forceps, ventouse or the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby; the stresses are amplified. A very quick birth can have a similar impact. Symptoms of your baby being troubled by tensions include:

  • Unexplained long-running crying,
  • Appearance of being in discomfort, this can be aggravated by certain positions,
  • A preference for looking to one side or feeding better on a particular side,
  • Problems with latching on and feeding, excessive posseting more akin to vomiting (large volumes, high frequency),
  • Colic.

It is becoming common knowledge that aches and pains often occur in a different part of the body to the source of the problem, and often the resulting pain starts many months or years after an accident. So toddlers and young children beset by various aches and pains (sometimes defined as ‘growing pains’) can also benefit from osteopathy. Repetitive ear infections, glue ear, squints and teething difficulties can be signs that compression or imbalances occurring during birth haven’t released properly. Paediatric osteopathy is very gentle, safe and effective involving a light pressure being applied very specifically to help the body release stresses and tensions. Many babies enjoy this and relax during the treatment. Afterwards they can be very sleepy – or very energetic! Occasionally they will be unsettled for a short period afterwards while they are adjusting (maybe for 1 – 2 days). All Osteopaths must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council and Osteopaths in this field of work have studied extensively at a post-graduate level in Paediatric Osteopathy and/or Cranial Osteopathy.

This article was written by Claire MacDonald from our Practice in Twickenham / St Margarets. Our Practice specialises in helping women (during and after pregnancy) and children enjoy more comfortable lives. For more details about treatments, call on 020 8891 3400.

* - these include Upledger, John E (1995). "Craniosacral Therapy"Physical Therapy 75 (4): 328–30.PMID 7899490, Upledger, JE (1978). "The relationship of craniosacral examination findings in grade school children with developmental problems". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 77 (10): 760–76. PMID 659282 and Upledger, JE; Karni, Z (1979). "Mechano-electric patterns during craniosacral osteopathic diagnosis and treatment". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association 78 (11): 782–91. PMID 582820.

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