Massage & Bodywork

May | June 2014

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I t p a y s t o b e A B M P C e r t i f i e d : w w w. a b m p . c o m / g o / c e r t i f i e d c e n t r a l 73 On the rare occasion that an infant does have a restriction, the sooner it is addressed, the better. If caught early, these restrictions are usually easily released and allow for a fuller development of the child at its most formative time. If not addressed, these restrictions can potentially follow the child into adulthood, creating issues that may be minor, but can take their toll over the years. The areas I outlined above are by no means the only areas I address on an infant, but they are the areas that I take particular care to check because of the negative effects that dysfunction at these regions can have on the development of the newborn. One of the most memorable infants I worked on was a 2-month-old who had stopped gaining weight, was below 10 percent on the growth charts, and had chronic colicky symptoms. I saw the child once, addressing all the regions that I discussed in this article. I received a follow-up call from the mother a month later, reporting that her child had shot up in the growth charts (past the 70th percentile), was feeding well, and had a remarkable decrease in colic. This work isn't magic; it's simply well-applied bodywork based on anatomical knowledge. Tuning into the rhythm of a newborn is a wonderful experience, presenting a full, fluid motion one will rarely feel in adults. If done right, one may be giving a brand-new human a great start in life, and save him or her from unknown dysfunctions that might have made life so much harder. innervation and potentially affect gut motility and gastric emptying, so can a disruption of the sacral nerves translate to decreased gut motility and delayed defecation. Also of concern is a compression of the pelvis that restricts sacral motion. The sacral motion will remain restricted when the child begins learning to walk, adding difficulty to what is already a complex task. If left unaddressed into adulthood, there is the potential for lifelong dysfunction and suboptimal development. I address this region much like I do the thoracic diaphragm. The first hold I apply is my standard sacral hold, with one hand underneath the sacrum, the sacral crest lying along the midline of my hand, and the fingers pointing inferiorly in the same direction as the apex of the sacrum. The other hand is on the anterior surface of the pelvis, with the palm on top of the abdomen and the hypothenar eminence of that hand on the superior aspect of the pubic crest. After I have tuned into the rhythm here for a bit, I then move my hands to either side of the pelvis. I hold one innominate with each hand, the pads of my fingers hooked into the medial aspect of the posterior superior iliac spine (PSIS) and my thumbs resting on the medial aspect of the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS). With my hands in this position, I apply a slight lateral traction, attempting to decompress the sacroiliac joints on either side. A GREAT START IN LIFE Doing craniosacral work on babies is a beautiful thing. A human will never again be as fluid and unrestricted as when he or she is first born. Most babies will never need a craniosacral treatment, but caring, intelligent touch is a great way to welcome the baby to our world and provide an additional source of tactile input. Dominic Anaya is an osteopathic physician and licensed massage therapist in Oregon. He has been doing craniosacral work for almost 20 years and teaches it at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine. Contact him at CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY & INFANTS

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