Providing healthcare services for you and your baby since 1983

header photo

CST for Newborns

CranioSacral Therapy is gentle and non-invasive, so it is a safe technique to use on newborns.  Dr. John Upledger, DO, who developed the techniques of CranioSacral Therapy, has stated that “Birth is the first CranioSacral Therapy treatment.”  A healthy birth corresponds with a healthy CranioSacral System.  It was his belief that every baby should have a CranioSacral evaluation to ensure a perfect start in the world.  It might be hard to understand how a newborn baby could be anything but perfect, but he or she may have already been exposed to a variety of stressors.

Stressors during pregnancy may include:

          In utero positioning, including fetal malpresentation

          Mother who has a pelvic imbalance or has suffered a fall or injury

          Exposure to medications and/or street drugs

          Maternal illness or toxicity

          Maternal emotional upset

Birth can also impose stress on the newborn.  During the birth process, the baby’s head is compressed as it twists through the narrow birth canal. To allow passage, the cranium of a newborn baby is not a solid, bony structure but a soft membranous one, designed to adapt readily to the pressures of the birth process.  However, intense compression of this delicate structure over many hours, as is often the case, pushes the bones of the cranium up against each other and distorts the shape of the head. This is normal and unavoidable, but if any of the cranial bones remain at all distorted, or if they fail to release completely, the distortions may prevent the proper formation of the skull, and thereby affect development of the brain or impinge on associated structures such as nerves, blood vessels, and intracranial membranes.

The body’s inherent self-healing powers are usually able to re-mould the compressed cranium back into its normal shape. When a baby suckles properly at the breast, he is helping to re-mould his cranium naturally.  However this innate re-moulding is not always completely successful, and the degree to which the restrictions and compressions are resolved varies considerably from individual to individual.  If the labor has been long and hard, the distortions are likely to be more firmly imprinted and less readily resolved by nature.  Even where the birth process has been relatively straightforward, restrictions or compressions may persist and these may in turn inhibit full and proper growth and development.

Some of the types of birth trauma can have a negative effect on the CranioSacral System include:

          Obstetrically complicated deliveries, such as prolonged labor

          Breech, face, arm, shoulder or footling presentation

          Pharmaceutical induction of labor (before the baby is ready)

          Forceps and vacuum deliveries

          Cesarean deliveries

As a result of these in utero and birth stresses, the baby may have problems such as:

          Difficulty Breastfeeding

          Discomfort/Pain (Colic?)

          Difficulty Falling Asleep or Staying Asleep

          Torticollis (Stiff or Twisted Neck)

          Facial Assymetry

          Cranial Asymmetry and Over-Riding of Cranial Bones


The gentle techniques of CranioSacral Therapy can be used to facilitate the correction of cranial moulding and to release pressure on the cranial nerves and on the central nervous system. The changes that are often observed after CST for newborns include:

        A change in the shape of the newborn's head

        Re-organization of intracranial membranes as well as other structures in the skull

        Increased symmetry on the infant's face and mouth

       An improvement in the ability to suck, swallow and breathe

       An increase in the range of motion of the newborn's neck and shoulders

       A reduction in digestive system irritability (colic, gas, pain, reflux)

      Relaxation of the newborn's central nervous system (reducing sleeplessness, screaming, and body arching)

"My baby was born with laryngomalacia, a condition in which the cartilage of the upper larynx collapses inward during inhalation, causing partial airway obstruction and noisy breathing.  He also had trouble breastfeeding, and was gassy, fussy, and spit up a lot.  After a single CranioSacral treatment the noisy breathing disappeared and the baby was much calmer.  After several more treatments he was able to breastfeed better and no longer spit up." SR