Amy was six months old when her parents brought her to see me. She had been screaming continuously for all of those six months, day and night, night and day, all day, every day. She was screaming as she arrived, in obvious inconsolable pain.
Her parents had taken her to countless doctors, specialists and therapists. She had been given endless medications. Nothing had helped.
Her parents were at their wits end. They were desperately concerned for their baby. They had hardly had any sleep in six months. They were exhausted. They couldn’t take Amy anywhere because of her constant screaming. They couldn’t invite friends round. Their life was a continuous nightmare. They were on the point of breaking up. I placed a hand on Amy’s abdomen and a hand on her head. Within a few seconds she had stopped screaming. Within minutes she was asleep. From that moment on, she was a happy healthy little girl, no longer screaming inconsolably, growing up contentedly just like any other child. Life became peaceful and harmonious. Her parents stayed together and had another child. I saw Amy and her younger brother from time to time as they grew up healthy and happy - family life transformed from the nightmare of those early months.
What happened during those few minutes of treatment?
What happened was Cranio-Sacral Integration.
Sophie was 10 and had been a very lively, enthusiastic girl, always keen to go to school, always having friends round and going to her friends’ houses, enjoying a multitude of different activities with great enthusiasm. Then she caught flu - nothing unusual about that - she was unwell for a week or two, but when the illness was over, she just wasn’t the same girl any more. She was constantly tired, she didn’t want to go to school, she just sat around, not wanting to do anything; she was moody and irritable, and this dragged on and on and on for months. Of course her mother took her to the doctor, but the doctor couldn’t identify any cause or offer any solution.
By the time her mother brought her to me, it has been almost a year and Sophie was still lethargic and apathetic. Just one treatment cleared out the persistent effects that had lodged in her system, dragging her down into her debilitated state and Sophie was transformed. She positively bounded off the table, was raring to go to school the next day and wanted friends round after school. Her mother was overjoyed “I’m so delighted to have my little girl back”.
Toby’s parents brought him to see me for two main reasons. He was suffering from colic, and he wasn’t sleeping much at night. He was also generally quite a restless child. Throughout the day he was restless, wingeing, crying on and off, squirming around in apparent discomfort. It was particularly bad soon after each feed and he would often bring up part of his feed. He would usually be a bit better after bringing up wind, but soon the restless squirming and discomfort would start again. At night he would go to sleep alright, but then he kept waking up crying several times during the night. He was 8 months old and been like this since soon after birth. His parents had tried everything they could but he didn’t seem to be getting any better.
After his first treatment, Toby seemed more settled and slept better that night, but soon returned to his usual restlessness and squirming. After the second session he had 3 good nights and seemed much happier, but gradually his symptoms retuned. With each session the effects were lasting longer and his parents were feeling very pleased.
Then he got a bad cold which spread to an ear infection and he was unwell for a couple of weeks, and after that he started waking again during the night (although his colic symptoms had disappeared and didn’t return). It took a few sessions to address the effects of the cold and ear infection. Gradually he settled again and soon he was sleeping through the night and was generally much calmer. His parents kept bringing him for a treatment every few months for a check up and to keep him in balance. Now I just see him every six months or so, or if he has an illness or fall which unsettles him.
Olivia was 9 months old and she had been in hospital for the last 3 months. She was having epileptic fits every 3 minutes or so, repeatedly, 24 hours a day, and had been doing so for the past 6 months. Every few minutes she would start to shake, her eyes would roll, her head would pull back and her whole body would tremble for a minute or so, then it would subside, only to start up again 3 minutes later. She and her mother were living in the hospital so that she could be monitored and cared for constantly. Every medication for epilepsy and several others besides had been tried without any benefit. The hospital had exhausted all possibilities and had run out of ideas.
Olivia’s parents heard about Cranio-Sacral Therapy and phoned me and asked if it would be possible for me to go and see her in hospital. I arrived to find Olivia going through her regular fits every three minutes. As I engaged with her Cranio-Sacral system, I could feel a very powerful pattern of compression as if her head and neck had been compressed forcefully down into her shoulders and twisted to the right - a common consequence of a difficult birth (although there was no sign of this externally). As the treatment session progressed, she continued to experience her fits every few minutes. I maintained engagement, allowing her system to release the profound effects of birth trauma that were imprinted into her. I spent 2 hours with Olivia that evening, allowing the treatment process to take its course.
By the end of the treatment she was fitting only every 20 minutes (instead of every 3 minutes). The next day she came out of hospital. When the family came to see me a week later, she was just experiencing a few fits each day, and within a few more treatments, the fits had disappeared completely.
Simon had asthma. He had suffered a chest infection soon after birth, for which he had been given antibiotics, and his chest had been weak ever since, often prone to coughs and colds, especially during the winter of course. At the age of 5, with his cough becoming more persistent and severe he had been diagnosed with asthma. He was now 7 and was using the usual inhalers. His mother described him as an anxious child, and it was noticeable that times of stress often brought on asthma attacks.
At the end of his first session, Simon said that his chest felt much clearer than it had ever been, so he was keen to come back for more treatment. Gradually over a series of treatments his chest cleared, his cough disappeared, and his mother noticed that he seemed much more confident and happy. When winter came he caught a cold and his cough started to return, but it soon settled again with a few treatments. By spring he no longer needed his inhalers (although he kept them just in case). Initially, each winter there would be a slight tendency for his cough to return, especially if he caught a cold, so he would come for a treatment if necessary. Now he no longer needs any further treatment. He no longer suffers from asthma. He’s playing a lot of sport and has become a much more outgoing and confident child.
Timothy was just 15 months old when he was brought to me. He had been crying, screaming, waking every hour through the night, and constantly hyperactive for over a year, since contracting meningitis at the age of 3 months. The meningitis had of course been treated medically, but Timothy was not the same child. The family doctor insisted that his symptoms were nothing to do with his meningitis, that there was nothing wrong with him, that he was just a ‘crying’ baby. His parents knew perfectly well that he had been a perfectly happy peaceful baby before the meningitis, they were deeply concerned about him, and their life of endless sleepless nights with Timothy waking up screaming every hour was deeply disturbing – but the doctor wouldn’t refer them for further investigations.
Eventually they encountered the Meningitis Trust who referred them to me. His whole head felt so contracted and tight, it was as if it had shriveled inside like a dried fruit. No wonder he was uncomfortable. It was immediately recognizable as the classic effects of meningitis. The night after his first session, Timothy slept for 15 hours without a break (having not slept for more than an hour at a time for over a year). The next day he was much more settled than he had been for the past year. It took a few more sessions to clear the effects completely, but soon he was a peaceful calm contented happy little boy again.
Arabella was 12 years old and her right knee had been painful for a long time – she wasn’t sure how long but it seemed like years. It was preventing her from playing sport, or running, and even day to day activities with her friends were constantly disturbed by her knee pain.
With every patient, we assess the whole person and look at the overall balance of the body and any factors that might be contributing to the symptoms or the situation. In Arabella’s case, within the context of overall treatment, it was immediately obvious that the imbalance was coming very specifically from the knee itself, although neither she nor her father could remember any injury that might have caused the problem.
Fascial Unwinding is a very valuable aspect of Cranio-Sacral Therapy (although not used by all Cranio-Sacral therapists). Since it was evidently appropriate in this case, I included Fascial Unwinding of the knee in the treatment, and as the knee ‘unwound’, Arabella suddenly had a vivid memory of an incident a few years earlier when she had been sitting on the side of a boat with her legs dangling down the side, and the boat had moved up against the quayside, squashing her right knee. It hadn’t seemed like a significant injury at the time and it had been several years ago, but that injury had been lodged in her knee ever since, disturbing its fluent function and gradually causing increasing strain on the surrounding tissues.
As often happens during Fascial Unwinding, the process of connecting with the original injury triggered a sudden memory of the original incident. With the release, her knee recovered instantly and no further treatment was needed.
Sarah just couldn’t keep still. She was always fidgeting. She wouldn’t settle into anything for very long, and this was causing difficulties at school, where she couldn’t concentrate, was falling behind with her work, and getting into trouble for not paying attention. This was becoming a significant problem as she was now 11 and her education was suffering significantly. She was a very sweet little girl, very chatty and giggly and charming, and very apologetic about her inability to keep still.
Treating Sarah was great fun, never a dull moment. Engaging with her cranio-sacral system was like riding a high speed roller coaster – she was as busy on the inside as she was on the outside. Gradually she became more settled. Her mother reported some significant moments of focused activity at home, and school teachers were reporting an improvement. After a while she even started to fall asleep during treatment sessions, and her mother reported that she was sleeping much better at home also.
It was a gradual process. These patterns had after all been there since birth and were deeply ingrained, but gradually Sarah became calmer and able to concentrate more effectively; and school and home life became much more settled and satisfactory. Sarah is still a very lively, chatty, charming girl, but is now much more able to focus and concentrate.
Faye - Autism
Faye was 5 yrs old when she first came to see me. ‘See me’ is not really an appropriate expression, as she would never look at me directly, always looking away, hiding her face, occupying her attention elsewhere. Faye was autistic.
On her first visit, she was very shy and a little apprehensive, but as soon as she felt the magical feeling of engagement with her cranio-sacral system, her face changed, her body softened, and she settled comfortably into the treatment, welcoming the positive responses which she could feel spreading through her body.
She clearly enjoyed coming for treatment. Her mother reported that she always looked forward to her sessions. When she arrived, she was always eager to climb onto the couch of her own accord and get started and she welcomed my contact. Sometimes her little hands would move my hands to a different area where she felt she needed treatment.
She had been receiving speech and language therapy for about a year, but was not yet talking, and she was also receiving other support, but progress had been slow. Her digestive function was very disturbed, with severe constipation. She was very easily alarmed by any sudden unexpected noise, which could leave her unsettled for hours or even days. She was fearful of many ordinary situations. Her communication was very limited, mostly to her mother, and generally consisting of just a few noises and pointing at things.
Initially there was a multitude of issues to address – severe contraction in her abdomen, digestive system and solar plexus, extreme tightness in her chest, neck and shoulders, a very tight contracted head, especially in the temporal area, particularly on the left side. There was a great deal to do, and there were plenty of reasons to explain her condition.
Faye was very amenable to treatment. These various areas responded well - slowly but surely - and within a few weeks she was making significant progress. Her bowels and digestive system had settled completely. She was much calmer, no longer alarmed. Her speech and language therapist reported dramatic progress following her first cranio-sacral session and ever since. Her range of sounds and even words was expanding steadily.
Occasionally I would see out of the corner of my eye that she was looking at me, but as soon as I met her gaze and smiled, she would immediately turn away, giggle, and hide her face - but this was significant progress.
After a few months, Faye had progressed hugely. Week by week, her mother reported remarkable advances in her behaviour. She was talking. She had started mainstream school and her support teacher was amazed at her progress – observing how she was always exceptionally good the day after her cranio-sacral sessions. By now she would look me in the eyes – at least briefly - smile, and even say hello.
Her cranio-sacral system also felt hugely different. All the tension in her abdomen and solar pexus had disappeared completely. Her chest and thorax had softened significantly. Her head no longer felt tight.
Her left temporal area remained persistently restricted, even as the other areas softened, but eventually even this released and was accompanied by a significant leap in her speech and general progress.
One area however remained very resistant, and that was the area around her brainstem, foramen magnum, and posterior cranial fossa, where there was an intense contraction. It had been evident from the start, and it was changing, but only very gradually. Many of Faye’s symptoms were typical of vagus nerve dysfunction and the restrictions around her medulla and the roots of the vagus were undoubtedly highly significant. As that area steadily released, her progress again moved forward substantially.
By the age of seven, Faye was doing so well that she stopped coming for treatment – she was talking, communicating, playing contentedly with other children, progressing well at school. There were still aspects that weren’t quite what would have been expected of a 7 year old, but she had made enormous progress.
Maya - Cleft Palate
Maya was 4 years old when I first saw her, and had been born with a cleft palate. Surgical repair had been successful, but she remained prone to frequent ear infections, glue ear and consequent significant hearing loss. She was a very willing and cooperative patient and within two sessions of cranio-sacral treatment her ears cleared and her hearing was fully restored.
Mark - Squint
Mark developed a fixed squint at an early age and was due to have an operation to correct it. His cranio-sacral system revealed a strong torsion pattern right the way down through the body to the sacrum and pelvis, a common but in this case quite severe birth pattern. Addressing the torsion, releasing the primary focus at the pelvis, and bringing his system into balanced integration eliminated the squint and abrogated the need for an operation.
Bobby - Astigmatism
Bobby was 5 years old and had been experiencing various difficulties with his vision for some time. He wore glasses and had been diagnosed with astigmatism among other disturbances. As cranio-sacral treatment progressed, his mother observed that he was noticing things more readily, seeing more clearly, and often not using his glasses. Although he was not due for a check-up for several months, she took him to the ophthalmologist who reported that his vision had improved significantly and that the astigmatism had disappeared. He immediately prescribed new glasses.