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How Osteopathy Helps Infants and Children

Does your baby have excess gas or constipation? Chronic ear infections? Torticollis or colic? Perhaps you should consider seeing an Osteopathic Therapist. Osteopathic Manual Therapy is a holistic approach to pediatric health care. Children’s bodies are constantly changing. As maturation of the bones and systems are incomplete, early childhood is an excellent time to have your child evaluated for structural issues that may be causing, adding to, or complicating any health problems. Visiting an Osteopathic Manual Therapist at pivotal developmental stages is helpful to ensure maintenance of good health.

Osteopathy has 4 main principles. All 4 can be applied to a baby and/or child’s health and wellbeing.

1. The body is a unit

2. Structure and function are related

3. The body has the ability to self heal and self regulate

4. Osteopathic treatment is based on the understanding and application of these principles.

1. Your child’s body is a unit:

Osteopathy views the body as a unit, not simply a compilation of different parts. This means that it isn’t possible to separate the functioning of one area of the body from another. Dysfunction in one system of the body will affect all the other systems in some capacity. For example, the muscles, arteries, veins, and nerves surrounding the knee are connected to the ankle and the hip. Likewise, they are also connected to the lower back and the foot/toes. A pain in the knee may have nothing to do with the knee at all. If your baby isn’t digesting milk or formula properly, then relaxation, sleep, and immunity may be compromised. Your child’s entire body is continually changing from day to day. Regular Osteopathic treatment is especially beneficial at important growth spurts and stages of development.

2. Your baby’s structure and function are related:

When the structure has been altered in some way, so follows the functioning. If you can imagine the structure of a house, picture a crooked foundation. What might that do to the roof over time? What about the walls or the window frames? Perhaps cracks could appear, or leaks in the roof. Maybe the plumbing would be affected. If you have a car that’s alignment is off, your ability to drive the car safely is compromised. Osteopathy has a similar point of view of the body. Once the structure has been altered in some way, then the function and performance of the body changes . If the delivery of the baby was prolonged, the baby may have been compressed in the birth canal for an extended period of time. The compressing forces may affect the alignment of the baby’s neck, ribs, low back or bones of the head. This may cause dysfunction of the neck muscles (ie torticollis), the muscles responsible for sucking and swallowing (ie breast feeding/latching problems), age of first roll over, crawl, stand or the alignment of the ear canal (ie ear infections).

3. Your baby or child has the ability to self heal and self regulate:

Provided with the proper environment, the body innately heals and regulates itself. Mother nature is a powerful thing! If circulation improves, nourishment and waste removal will improve. Congestion, inflammation and pain/discomfort will decrease. Excessive crying due to gas pains, constipation and bloating (colicky symptoms) may be due to poor circulation and movement in the abdominal area. When stagnation is removed, the digestive system and bowels are able to function in a healthier environment. Healing begins here.

4. Osteopathic Treatment for your little one is based on the understanding and application of these principles:

Osteopathic treatment takes all of the previous concepts into account. Babies and children are constantly growing and changing. As the muscles and bones develop, so do the heart, lungs, brain, stomach and bowels. Injury or trauma to one part of the body will have an impact on the entire body (if not now, perhaps in the future). Provided with a well aligned structure, a child’s body will have a supportive internal environment as he or she develops throughout life.

If your expecting or have a young child at home, reach out for a free 15 minute consultation with Alexandra Evans to talk about how Osteopathy can help your child on their developmental journey.

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