Sunday, November 10, 2013

Craniosacral Therapy - Canadian Down Syndrome Awareness Week

According to The Upledger Institute Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is "a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance."

&: "Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system." 

We have had some pretty fantastic results with craniosacral therapy This blogpost is some bits & pieces about cranio treatments that I've written down over the last few years.

We live in a very small community & there are many services that aren't available here.  We are however very blessed to have an amazing craniosacral therapist. She is also a RMT, amongst other accreditation. Ms. E has very small hands - I often think she has the hands of a child but Wow! are they powerful.  I have a treatment myself every so often & am always amazed at how powerful & intuitive Ms. E's hands are.  

In the beginning we started taking K mostly for her reflux but various articles & books inspired me to take K's treatments one step further & we started a series of weekly appointments shortly after K turned 3. As time has gone on we have focused more on issues like nystagmus, & sinus & breathing issues.   

One of the articles that encouraged me to continue with more frequent treatments is from the River Bend Down syndrome site.  Here is a link but you'll probably have to type the title The Osteopathic Management of Children with Down's Syndrome into the search bar to find it.

People with very Trisomy 21 very commonly have breathing issues & sleep apnea. This plays a huge part in their general health, & if they are not getting enough oxygen, it can have an affect  on cognition as well.  This is what I am trying to avoid. Sometimes we notice that this type of treatment changes K's looks a bit. It is slight but the difference is there & over time I'm sure there will be more changes.  I do worry about that sometimes. We are not trying to change K's looks but if changing the structure of her face to help her body to function better also changes her looks then it is worth the health benefits. We have never been quiet about K's diagnosis - our whole community knew by the time she came home from the hospital at 6 days of age. I am proud of what my daughter can do 47 chromosomes & all & would only do something that may affect her appearance for the resulting health benefits.  K still looks like my adorable little girl but there is a definite difference in her nose.

By age 3  we could tell that K loved going to the craniosacral therapist.  She would repeat Ms. E's name over & over as we walked from the vehicle to her office.  This wasn't something K did often, so it really showed how much she enjoyed it. 

When K was 3.5 years she would lay quietly (for the most part) for a full 45 minute session. That alone tells me something!  She normally doesn't sit still for 5 minutes.  Even then she would tell me "Ms. E makes me feel better."

My oldest dd sustained a head injury a few years ago. For several days afterwards she had headaches, memory problems and was extremely tired She just wasn't herself. She was 13 so old enough to explain how she felt and said that she could feel the moment when all of the pressure was released & her head was fine. After the treatment she came home and slept from 3:30pm until 8pm, got up for just long enough to eat supper & went back to bed until 8 am the next morning at which point she woke up and was completely back to her old self again.  

A few months ago K when had another craniosacral appointment Ms. E finally had time to focus on K's nystagmus. I have been wanting to have her work on it but it is only in the last  year that K has been cooperative about letting her work in her mouth for longer of time as well as having the patience to stay very still for it. Ms. E has be very cautious in this area so if K isn't ready to stay very still it is not safe to proceed. K hasn't been to see Ms. E quite as often this past year & it seems like we have always had more urgent issues to attend to - a couple of K's older sisters had sports injuries that needed urgent attention so K had to give up a few appointments for them. It wasn't until this day that she was able to work on K's nystagmus.  The difference was incredible!  Yes it is still there but it had been getting worse again in the last 6 months or so & immediately after this treatment it is very noticeably decreased! This is not an issue that I expect to go away overnight but I do expect it to greatly improve & perhaps disappear eventually. Ms. E has a past client who came to her as a tween with quite noticeable nystagmus.  She is & is now a college graduate who is not hindered by her vision. She is able to drive & her nystagmus is gone.


  1. I am glad that you posted about CST. We are doing it, too. I honestly think it does work for Tommy.

  2. Just to key in on one thing you mentioned in this post - that you have never hidden your daughter's diagnosis and that everyone knew from when she was 6 days old.. I think this speaks to your desire to seek out the best possible path for your child regardless of what others think. This is a good thing for a parent of a child with down syndrome, because of there are many hurdles to face, and everyone will have opinions. If you have found something that you think is helpful, and that she enjoys, that is all that really matters - just as if you had found that taking her swimming or doing some other sport helped her level of enjoyment. One must imagine this type of therapy would also offer a degree of relaxation and that is why she is able to sit through 45 minute sessions.

  3. The most imprtant factor for CST to work is to have sweet patience, with out any expectations from the system; as this may prolong, if not hinder results.