Bodywork during the conception period, pregnancy and delivery supports mother and baby, relieves pain, stress and tension, emotional challenges, fertility concerns, and many other conditions related to pregnancy and their effects on both mom and child as throughout this important time. I primarily use CranioSacral Therapy and Osteopathic structural rebalancing techniques during this time.
What is CranioSacral Therapy?
CranioSacral Therapy is a highly effective light-touch form of bodywork that releases tensions in the central nervous system to allow every other system in the body to relax and self-correct. By addressing the central nervous system directly, CranioSacral Therapy enhances the body’s own healing processes. During a session a deep sense of inner stillness and peace is experienced. This state of stillness creates the right environment for the body to heal itself.
The craniosacral system consists of the membranes and fluid that surround and support the brain and spinal cord. It extends from the bones of the head (cranium) down to the bones at the base of the spine (sacrum), hence the name. This system is intricately connected with the rest of the body. Therefore by gently creating changes in the craniosacral system the body can self-correct.
How Does CST Help?
When someone experiences strain or trauma, whether through a challenging birth or an injury or emotional shock to the nervous system, their body shifts into survival mode. The sooner that trauma, shock and restriction are released from the body, the easier and faster the healing process, and the sooner she can move on to living joyfully.
During a CST session, I assess the body for restrictions and use a very light touch to encourage expansion, mobility and healing. CranioSacral therapy effectively creates deep change through gentle touch by addressing issues at the core of the body’s health. During the treatment, I typically use no more pressure than 5 grams (the amount needed to hold a nickel) to assess, resolve and prevent restrictions in the body. The treatment is deeply relaxing and recipients often experience a sense of timelessness or “stillpoint.” This state of stillness creates the right environment for the body to heal itself and enhances a woman’s experience during the childbearing years.
Not only did Ariana provide amazing services throughout my pregnancy, she also recommended several books and a DVD series from her lending library. It was so helpful in my preparation for childbirth. I highly recommend this complementary medicine! I have been an RN for nearly 10 years, and complementary medicine or not, I have never seen a more astute provider!
–Andrea K., Rota, Spain
When a woman is experiencing high levels of stress and living in the fight-or-flight state, the body is not prepared for reproduction. Because of its relaxing nature, CST can help women attain appropriate parasympathetic function (the opposite of “fight-or-flight”), which prepares the body for conception and fertility.
A 2014 U.S. study published in the journal Human Reproduction found that highly stressed women “took 29 percent longer to get pregnant compared to other women and [that] their risk of infertility doubled.” A U.K. study published around the same time found similar results when surveying couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
Here are some reasons why CranioSacral Therapy can be very beneficial for treating infertility:
- It helps to stabilize the autonomic nervous system and allows the reproductive organs to function properly.
- It has an effect on the pituitary and pineal glands and hormone production and communication– which are critical to conception. This can help improve ovarian function, increase blood flow to the endometrium to produce a thick lining, and regulate hormones that affect ovulation and reproduction.
- CranioSacral Therapy can help balance out the spinal fluid and nervous system, and can also help a woman who has anxiety or stress surrounding conception.
- CST can also address the physical manifestations of strong emotions such as fear leftover from previous pregnancies or births.
- If there is a structural reason for the infertility, such as an imbalance of the pelvic floor muscles or uneven tension in the uterus, CST can help release these restrictions and restore normal function to the area. A misaligned pelvic structure or chronic muscle tension in the low back or pelvic floor can adversely affect nerves that supply the reproductive organs as well as the organs themselves. CST can help alleviate such tension so all the bones, muscles, organs, and nerves of the pelvis can regain optimal function to support conception and a healthy pregnancy.
- It also works great in conjunction with other treatments (medical and non medical) and helps to enhance their effectiveness by making your body more responsive to the treatment. CranioSacral Therapy is a great treatment to start with because it is safe, effective, non-invasive and cost effective.
By balancing and correcting the alignment of the pelvis, CST promotes a state of stillness and a sense of openheartedness ideal for bonding with baby. During a session fears or previous childbirth traumas can be gently addressed and released. These sessions are a great way to prepare body, mind, and spirit for childbirth and motherhood.
Craniosacral Therapy helps the pregnant woman along on her journey into mothering by releasing restrictions in her body to co-create an optimal birthing experience. During pregnancy, one of the primary focuses is to release restrictions in the pelvis to ease ligament pain, low back pain, hip pain, and promote ideal fetal positioning. This type of bodywork also assists the baby in the womb to have a positive labor, birth and post-partum bonding experience.
I found Ariana as a referral during my second pregnancy. While my first pregnancy went rather smoothly–my second came with a lot of pain and discomfort. After one session with Ariana the sharp pain I was feeling in my pelvis was totally alleviated. I had been dealing with it for 7 months and couldn’t believe I had waited that long for treatment. I saw Ariana at least one other time for help getting my body ready for labor and delivery, and the result was a two and a half hours labor from first contraction to baby in my arms. I will say that not only did I feel better physically during pregnancy but my smooth delivery really reaffirmed my belief in CST.
— Anna Fox, Rota, Spain
Labor & Birth
Balancing and unwinding the pelvis provides great relief when applied during labor. CST supports the mother’s ability to be deeply calm and centered and therefore having easier access to her inner resources. When mom is in this state of profound relaxation, her body and baby can navigate the work of labor and birth with greater ease.
During childbirth, a skilled practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy can assist the opening of pelvic bones by gentle releases in the mother’s neck and head region.
In the postpartum period, CranioSacral therapy supports the mother’s physical and emotional recovery. The new mother can also be treated holding her baby and that way both benefit from the session.
A CranioSacral Therapy session after miscarriage or stillbirth provides safe, compassionate touch to give mom a safe space to rest. It is a time to pause and just breathe. In this safe space, mom will be able to rest which, in its own time, gently invites the body, mind, and spirit back into wholeness.
Craniosacral Therapy for Infants
CranioSacral Therapy is a wonderful and gentle bodywork modality for infants, babies and children. It promotes health, as well as minimizing or eliminating the effects of birth trauma. CranioSacral Therapy is performed with the baby or child wearing comfortable clothing, while the practitioner uses light touch that is soothing and relaxing. Babies enjoy CranioSacral Therapy! Sessions for babies are usually about 45 minutes long and can even be performed with the baby in the parent’s arms.
Newborns benefit profoundly from CST because of the intense pressures on the cranium and body during the short but intense passage from the womb and into the world outside.
CranioSacral bodywork for infants in the early postpartum period can prevent numerous breastfeeding challenges by enhancing their tongue thrust, sucking reflex and latch. Babies born by cesarean or instrument delivery are especially in need of CranioSacral Therapy to recover from the unnatural forces that their bodies experienced in birth.
This natural relief from tension is accomplished through the craniosacral practitioner’s loving touch. CranioSacral Therapy gently facilitates the release of restrictions in the myofascial tissues surrounding the tongue, facial bones, cranial bones, cranial nerves, sacrum and more, thus encouraging the increase in vitality and coherence of the craniosacral rhythm.
This bodywork assists babies in releasing restrictive patterns in the body before they become issues later in life, thus preventing future disease and dysfunction. Craniosacral therapy is extremely valuable for a baby who experienced a challenging labor and birth or is experiencing health issues.
Want more information? Check out Craniosacral Therapy FAQs.