Osteopathy for little onesSeptember 2015

While the benefits of osteopathy in adults are well known, we tend to think less often of its benefits for babies. Yet it often gives amazing results in babies, and its sphere of action is particularly broad: difficult labour, disturbed sleep, digestive problems, continuous crying, difficulty with breastfeeding or repeated bronchitis are all reasons for taking your baby to see an osteopath. Ready to try it?

 

How does osteopathy work?

Osteopathy considers the body as a whole and is underpinned by the principle that the various structures that make it up (joints, ligaments, muscles, internal organs, etc.) are interdependent: any incorrect functioning of one element may affect others and throw the whole body out of balance. Accordingly, osteopathy does not aim to treat a symptom but its cause through manipulations that re-establish the correct mobility of organic tissue.

This therapy, which is acknowledged by the college of physicians, is not a replacement for conventional medicine but is complementary to it and often makes all the difference. It is used in many instances: in adults, it is known to soothe back pain, sciatica and joint pain, as well as contributing to the treatment of ailments as varied as constipation, urinary infections, asthma, earache, migraines, difficulty sleeping and stress disorders. It is worth remembering during your pregnancy: osteopathy can help to alleviate pain and prepare your body for the birth.

 

What are its uses in babies?

No one is too young to see an osteopath! In fact, babies are particularly receptive to this technique, which often produces spectacular effects in them. In the weeks following the birth, a quick check-up with an osteopath is always useful as birth subjects babies to significant pressures that often cause microtrauma. In fact, some maternity clinics systematically offer a consultation with an osteopath.

This session is particularly highly recommended if the birth was difficult: labour that is too long or, conversely, very intense and quick, forceps or vacuum delivery, breech presentation, induced labour or caesarean section often disrupt the normal functioning of the baby’s cranial structures. An osteopath will be able to detect these problems and resolve them quickly.

Thereafter, the osteopath can help you to resolve a whole host of problems: excessive crying, frequent regurgitation, colic, digestive problems and reflux, difficulties with breastfeeding, sleeping problems, signs of anxiety and repeated bronchitis, among others. Also, get into the habit of observing your baby closely: excessive curvature when you pick him up, head flattened at the back, head always turned or bent to the same side, stiffness in the limbs, postures that seem strange to you or a lack of energy are all signs that may reveal small blockages that an osteopath will be able to rectify.

 

What happens?

Just like going to the doctor, the session always begins with some questions: the osteopath will ask you about the birth of your baby, his behaviour, the problems that you have noticed and, of course, the reason for seeking a consultation. Next, he will put your baby on his osteopathy table, lying or sitting against him, where he will perform various gentle manipulations to check the mobility of different parts of his body and, if necessary, treat any dysfunction.

While some loud cracking sounds are sometimes heard in adult osteopathic sessions, there is nothing like this when it comes to babies: the manipulations are very gentle and delicate, and totally painless. Very often, babies relax completely  and may even fall asleep during the session!

On the other hand, sometimes babies do not like the feeling (particularly when the head is being touched) and begin to cry. They may simply be frightened by contact with an unknown person. Don’t panic, your baby is not suffering! Your calm presence will help reassure him: hold his hand, speak to him or sing him a nursery rhyme that he likes to help him stay calm.

Any physical blockages in babies are usually quickly corrected as their young bodies are very mobile: one or two sessions lasting approximately half an hour are usually enough to return their physical comfort and joie de vivre!

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