Osteopathy practice in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, and Prestwood, Buckinghamshire.

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Cranial Osteopathy for Babies and Children

Cranial Osteopathy works to release tensions and compressions caused during or since birth. It rebalances the body and nervous system to facilitate your child’s natural development.

It is a common belief that babies and children should have no structural strains in their bodies, because they are young and supple. The reality is very different.

During birth, the baby is subjected to enormous forces. He/she has to twist and turn to squeeze through the bony pelvis. To help the head pass through the narrow pelvis, the soft bones of the skull bend and overlap to reduce in size. This is called moulding, and is why many babies are born with odd shaped heads.

In the first few days after birth, the head gradually loses much of the extreme moulded shape, aided by suckling, crying and yawning. But this unmoulding process is often incomplete, especially if the birth has been difficult, and can leave the baby with uncomfortable stresses in his head and/or body Caesarians also leave their own types of strain as do the use of venteuse and forceps. These stresses may cause a variety of problems both in the young baby and later on as the child grows.

A Cranial Osteopath uses his hands to very subtly follow a child’s tissues into their birth strain pattern and support them while they unwind and release out of strain. This allows the child to feel comfortable and their nervous system to calm down so things like sleep and development are unimpeded. It also prevents as far as possible the problems that may arise later as a result of the birth strains.

“At six weeks old my daughter had been struggling to breast feed. After a single treatment she was able to widen her jaw making breast feeding much easier for her and more comfortable for me.”
Katherine, first time mother

"I have taken Ellie for two courses of treatment with Ben since she was born. At 4 months, she was suffering from what appeared to be digestion pain and cried a lot. Ben linked this back to when she had to have a stomach pump just after birth as well as what he explained are common birth stresses. Later, a combination of factors including early walking, a spinal tap and a head injury led to her complaining about discomfort in her feet and legs, expressed particularly by writhing about at night. At 16 months, I took Ellie back to see Ben and through gentle treatment, he has made her much more comfortable and relaxed, and her night episodes have cleared up."

Emily, first time mother


It is recommended by osteopaths that all babies benefit from a routine check up after birth.

The most common difficulties in the first few months are to do with feeding, sleeping and crying. As the child grows there are many different problems which are contributed to by unresolved birth strains including vulnerability to infections, headache and backache, sleep, behavioural and learning issues. Discomfort or sleep disturbance often occur around the time of developmental milestones. Osteopathic treatment often clears the way for the milestone to be reached as well as alleviating the discomfort and enabling better sleep.

based on text by Elizabeth and Clive Hayden