Cranial Osteopathy For Babies

Cranial Osteopathy For Babies

Is your baby distressed and crying non-stop but the doctor can’t find a problem?

It may be time to try Cranial Osteopathy

Babies can be subject to enormous forces when they are born, twisting and turning as they squeeze their way out to the outside world. This can mean a lot of stress and pressure, particularly on baby’s head. This pressure can be relieved by the non-invasive healing effects of cranial osteopathy.



Here are some pictures of June Jowitt recently treating a baby using Cranial Osteopathy.




What is Cranial Osteopathy?    

Many babies arrive having had slight compression from the pressure on their head during assisted or natural birth. These pressures and tensions can be relieved gently and skillfully. There is no pushing or pulling. The osteopath feels for tension in the tissues and then holds the tissue in a way that the body wants it to go until it releases. This allows the body to calm itself and become more relaxed.

Osteopaths can make baby or toddler’s head and spine more comfortable by using gentle manipulation. Cranial treatment is particularly effective on newborns and young babies, as their skull bones are not yet fused. This treatment essentially seeks to correct any damage or slight alterations caused during childbirth, and is particularly relevant if it was an assisted delivery, or particularly fast.

Your osteopath will check baby’s neck, shoulder, jaw, diaphragm, rib cage and spine. Don’t be afraid to ask the osteopath what she is doing throughout each treatment.

What problems does Cranial Osteopathy help with?   

Cranial osteopathy can relieve a number of problems for your baby, such as feeding troubles or unsettled and griping symptoms. Whilst no-one really knows what causes colicky symptoms, osteopaths recognise what may be contributing to the problem.

It is believed that the vagus nerve, which exits from the base of the skull and supplies the stomach and the upper part of the intestines, can be irritated or compressed. It is particularly vulnerable to distortion during the birth process. If irritated it can make the stomach more sensitive, contributing to the colicky symptoms. It is thought that the over-sensitivity of the gut is one way in which the brain responds to stress. This in turn affects the sympathetic nervous system which aids in the control of many of the body’s internal organs. After experiencing the shock of birth, it isn’t really very surprising that this can cause their nervous system to overreact!

Flat Head Syndrome

Cranial osteopathy can also be excellent in helping with flat head syndrome. This refers to a lack of symmetry in head shape, particularly common after assisted delivery. Only rarely are flat heads in infants due to fusing of the head “joins”. Usually the “joins” are not fused and early asymmetry can lead to flattening – this can lead to a preference for lying with the head in one position.

The back of the head can flatten on one side or both – a condition named “deformational plagiocephaly”. This can often cause feeding issues. It is important to ensure that there is adequate mobility in the neck to allow full rotation both ways.

How to avoid or reduce head flattening

  • Encourage regular turning of the neck when baby is on their back by getting them to look both ways.You can use bright objects or things that “jangle” to get your babies attention. For example, a toy or even a bunch of keys!
  • If you put your baby down on their side, remember to alternate sides. Observe head movement if your baby sleeps on their back. Check that one side is not favoured over the other.
  • Some supervised time on their tummies, while they are awake, also helps reduce a tendency to flattening of one side of the head.


Cranial osteopathy is not the only remedy for restless babies, but it can help ease the trauma of birth and sooth an unsettled baby.

It is worth considering cranial osteopathy if your baby is suffering from:

Feeding difficulties; or
Misshapen head.