What You Can Expect at Your First Cranial-Sacral Appointment for Your Baby

So, you have done your research, or you have been advised by a friend to go see Jim at NYPT to have your baby evaluated but you want to know what is this all about and what happens when you arrive?

When you arrive, you will be greeted by our very cheerful and helpful staff and asked to fill out some forms, just like anyone else who comes to NYPT.

Then when your scheduled time arrives (we pride ourselves on being on time) we will meet in a private room; you, any other family member if you wish and your baby.

A typical session lasts for about 1 hour. During that hour we spend some time discussing why you are bringing in your baby, and what your goals and expectations are from therapy. Then we will have a rather extensive discussion about your health and pregnancy, the delivery, how the baby is growing and how you and your family are adjusting.  I spend some time trying to bond with your child as well as your family, as this is important to successful treatment.

 Then we move on to the evaluation. Your baby is usually in just their diaper as I do a visual inspection checking for any asymmetries and looking for areas of tension and possible “block(s)” (a block being an area that is not moving correctly) while observing your baby’s response to me and my movements. Then I usually begin my palpation and movement testing – starting at the pelvis. I check the hips and lower extremity joints, then the trunk, spine and arms and finally the cranium and neck.  My goal is to find areas that are stuck/have tension and/or just not moving like they are expected to move.  I look for compressed areas and/or cranial bones that might be overlapped – common with a difficult birth or one where instrumentation is used (suction or forceps), all of it very gentle and deliberate.  Despite the gentle nature and relaxing quality of these type of treatments – commonly, your baby will cry because they don’t know me, or they don’t like to be kept in certain positions – always normal and often expected.  They are just communicating with us – it is important to understand that at any time you can intervene and pick your baby up. You will note that when you pick them up, almost all babies stop crying instantly, thus indicating that nothing is hurting them.

Once I find the areas that are stuck or need to be released, I perform the treatment.  Again, the treatments are very gentle and usually received well.  Once treatment is completed for that session, I will spend time discussing what I found and what to expect next.  These treatments often require some integration by baby/patient which can take a few days.  One of the special qualities of treating babies is they usually respond very well to these treatments as their stress/tension patterns have not fully set in yet, as compared to adults who may not respond as quickly.  I also try and give advice or exercises that might help the process along, or if appropriate, offer some advice about sleeping, eating, and caring for the child.

Follow-up sessions are determined by the findings and the response.  Newborns who are just in for a general evaluation and don’t have any known issues usually respond very well and are not seen for at least 3 months for prevention and monitoring.  Babies that have issues like torticollis, asymmetrical head or latching issues may require more consistent sessions.

As society becomes more and more aware of the benefits of preventative health;  parents  should remember that there are other options to “he or she will outgrow it” and one powerful option is Cranial-sacral manual therapy.

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