Allison Woods

M.Ost Med, DO, ND, RCST

Healing Tides Craniosacral Therapy

I'm at Breath Health Collective
440 Anderton Ave
Courtenay, BC V9N 2G8
Tel: 250-650-3679
I am often unable to answer the phone. Please email or text preferred.

Courtenay Clinic Days:

Fridays
11:30am-8:30pm
Appointments on Mondays and Wednesdays may be possible - please inquire if interested or check out my updated schedule through the online booking option.

I look forward to seeing you!

Pregnancy, Birth and Babies

Due to the gentle nature of Craniosacral Therapy, it is considered to be very safe and can be highly effective in helping many mothers and their babies throughout pregnancy, the birthing process and beyond.

Pregnancy

Many women have found Craniosacral Therapy helps their body adjust to pregnancy related changes.

Tension patterns that are held in the body can be exacerbated by the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy. This can manifest as:

  • Lower back pain
  • Symphysis pubis dysfunction (pain in the front of the pelvis)
  • Discomfort in the ribs
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Neck pain
  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvis and/or hips
  • Sore feet

Craniosacral Therapy works with the root of dysfunction and helps to relieve tension patterns and restore balance to areas affected by excessive stress and strain.

Craniosacral Therapy helps the client process any surfacing emotions (such as fear, anxiety, a feeling of overwhelm, depression) that are often related to hormonal changes that occur throughout pregnancy. treatment often helps to reduce stress and physical tension, helping the mother feel more relaxed and supported as well as more in tune with her body and baby.

The Birthing Process

During the birth process the mother’s pelvis expands in response to the emerging baby – this in turn changes the shape of the baby’s head so it can negotiate its way into the world. Certain physiological changes need to occur in order for this to happen including compression of the baby’s head and rotation to one side. In the majority of deliveries, these distortions correct within a few hours or days, through breathing, yawning, sucking and crying.

After delivery a big shift must occur in infant circulation in order to breathe and fully oxygenate blood on its own without any help from the mother. The newborn experiences shock if these changes occur too quickly (including the umbilical cord being clamped immediately upon delivery).

Often after a difficult or traumatic delivery both the mother and baby (who are often treated together) find a few Craniosacral sessions help to release any residing trauma and restore balance to both the mom and baby’s energy systems. This can have a huge long term positive impact on the strong bond forming between mother and child.

Caesarean Birth Experience

A cesarean birth involves a sudden change from the environment within the uterus to that of the outside world. The newborn infant experiences shock with this sudden change, even when carried to full term. The shock and stress is even greater for a premature infant as their body is not yet ready to handle life on its own.

In an emergency caesarean birth both compression and shock to the infant can be factors in the birth experience. This can be especially true if the infant was stuck in the birth canal for a prolonged period of time or if the labouring mother was “failing to progress”. In this case it is particularly beneficial for mother and baby to be treated together.

Although a cesarean birth may seem easier for the infant, the stimulus of being gently squeezed through the birth canal is essential to properly stimulate their body to come into this world. After the baby is born, a deep unencumbered first breath needs to be taken to initially re-expand all the structures that were compressed during the descent through the birth canal. This can be difficult after a seemingly “easy” delivery without trauma, especially if baby has been affected by anesthesia or other pain medication the mother has been given. Often after a cesarean birth this deep first breath rarely happens.

There are many good reasons for caesarean birth many of which are life saving to both mother and baby. However the trauma and shock often experienced by the baby (and also the mother) must not be overlooked. While caesarean birth may be viewed as “easy” it is anything but, and Craniosacral Therapy can be very helpful during the postpartum healing process for both mom and baby.

Babies

Many mothers and babies have found Craniosacral Therapy helpful in the recovery from the challenges faced during labour and childbirth.

The sooner the treatment is given after the birthing process the better, especially if it has been a difficult and complex labour. All babies experience some degree of shock, mild to severe, which can “imprint” itself in the infant and mothers fascial system. Some newborn babies have clenched muscles as if to protect themselves, as the physical birth process may have been a direct contrast to the nurturing time in the womb they experienced. Some babies may enter a state of panic, (if for example if they become stuck for a time in the birth canal) they can be frightened, frustrated or even angry following their birth (called hyperarousal).

Another effect of shock during the birth process is for the baby to withdraw and appear to sleep a lot (called hypo arousal). Parents often think their babies are doing so well because they are sleeping all the time when they are actually struggling to process their challenging birth experience.

The following examples can be indicators of shock and trauma and typically respond very well to Craniosacral treatment:

  • Feeding difficulties – impaired suckling, or strong preference feeding on one side vs the other
  • Torticollis
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irritability
  • Colic
  • Sleeplessness
  • Excessive sleepiness/subdued
  • Frequent spitting up or vomiting
  • Learning difficulties
  • Behavioural problems
  • Strong dislike of certain positions (i.e. being in their carseat, or on their back)
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Mother and infant unable to make deep eye contact (indicator of shock)
  • The Mother experiencing disassociation from the baby or birthing experience (especially if pain medication was administered during the birthing process)
  • Persistent lower back pain (particularly after an epidural or spinal block)

Mothers and babies can find the process of birth overwhelming and treatment is recommended as soon as mom and baby are able so the underlying patterns of tension can be released before becoming established.

The journey through pregnancy and childbirth can be anywhere from easy and delightful, to challenging and traumatic. Craniosacral Therapy is a fantastic way to help integrate love and healing into the amazing journey of bringing new life into this world.