resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
June, 2003, Vol. 03, Issue 06
Applications of CranioSacral Therapy in Newborns and Infants, Part II
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
Editor's Note: Part one of this two-part series appeared in the May 2003 issue.
Forceps and Vacuum Extraction
Once an infant's head is delivered and free from the pressure of the birth canal, we can focus on what occurs as the rest of the child's body is delivered.The trip through the birth canal involves a brilliantly orchestrated series of twists and turns for the child's torso and pelvis, which essentially mobilizes each joint in the spine and pelvis and stretches all the related musculature and soft tissue. Nature intended this to be a process that relies more on pushing from uterine contraction than pulling from externally applied forces.
When those assisting the delivery process apply excessive traction to the child's head to "assist" the body through the birth canal, significant strains of muscles, ligaments, fasciae and joints may occur. The body's response to a strain is tissue contracture. There also may be small amounts of blood extravasated, which act as irritating stimuli that may later induce fibrotic changes in soft tissues. These phenomena may occur within the craniosacral system and in the paraspinal and pelvic tissues.
Wherever strains and extravasations occur, they can interfere directly or indirectly with proper functioning of the craniosacral system. Strains should be released; contracted tissues should be relaxed; fluid exchanges in tissues where extravasated blood has spilled should be encouraged; and all joints should be mobilized as soon as possible after delivery.
If these issues are not addressed, they can cause a wide variety of craniosacral system problems, spinal problems (that I believe can manifest as scoliosis in later life) and pelvic imbalances (that could easily interfere with the proper functioning of pelvic organs). It is easy to correct the majority of these problems immediately following delivery, and it is essentially risk-free when the work is done by a competent CranioSacral therapist. It requires only minutes to carry out the evaluation and treatment early in the child's life; it seems a shame not to do so as soon as possible.
Other causes of craniosacral system dysfunction that relate to delivery include abnormal presentations, such as eith the face, arm, leg and breech. Each of these presents abnormal stresses, strains and pressures upon the child's body, which may manifest as unique craniosacral system problems. The system must be evaluated to determine the dysfunction, and the natural self-corrective mechanisms must be supported to attain full function and efficient craniosacral system function.
Forceps and vacuum-assisted deliveries often impose the excessive "pulling" forces that induce strain patterns in body tissues. Forceps, which are applied asymmetrically, often result in a misshapen head that is beyond the child's self-corrective abilities. These problems can be resolved by a skilled CranioSacral therapist as soon as possible after delivery.
My own experience with children delivered by vacuum extraction has firmly molded my opinion in opposition to this practice. The vacuum or suction on the child's head creates a negative force inside the head that can result in the suction of abnormal quantities of intracranial fluids into the top of the skull vault. This "edema" may result in long-lasting craniosacral system dysfunctions relating to loss of flexibility of the meningeal membranes, and probably some fibrous changes in tissues that are meant to be pliable and compliant.
The "vacuum-extracted" children we have worked on at our clinic require a great deal of CranioSacral Therapy (CST), even when therapy begins during the first year of life. The problems are correctable, but if another choice of delivery is available, it would be better to avoid the risk imposed by applying such strong vacuum forces to the top of the delicate fetal head.
I was surprised during my early work to see the strong positive correlation between the presence of significant craniosacral system dysfunctions and delivery by Cesarean section. It was quite puzzling, until I remembered occasions during C-sections when I saw amniotic fluid spout up into the air a few inches as the incision was made into the uterus. This suggests the sudden reduction of pressure inside the uterus where the child has been living for the past nine months. Fetal physiology could be severely challenged by this sudden change in pressure. It seems comparable to a scuba diver surfacing too rapidly and suffering the "bends."
From a craniosacral point of view, this sudden reduction in external pressure might result in a rapid expansion of the fetal head. This, in turn, could easily result in intracranial membranous strain; micro tears in the meningeal membranes; and tiny capillary bleeds. As these extravasated red blood cells degrade, they undergo biochemical changes in which they become bile salts, which are irritants to brain tissue and membranes. This tissue irritation results in fibrous change in the form of gliosis in the brain loss of compliance in membranes; and small but significant intermembranous adhesions. These conditions may cause craniosacral system dysfunctions that could require extensive therapy.
Postpartum Events That May Relate to Craniosacral System Dysfunction
The most common postpartum event we have seen relating causally to dysfunctions of the craniosacral system is the suctioning of the mouth and nose. The newborn's hard and soft palate, and nasal structures are extremely delicate at the time of birth. The suction bulb or tube easily insults the soft tissues, causing them to contract. When it persists, this contracture compromises hard-palate and nasal-bone mobility that, in turn, causes craniosacral system dysfunction.
Hard palate problems usually result in sphenoid and/or temporal-bone dysfunction. These problems can easily lead to eye-motor system dysfunction and severe irritability of the child. Other symptoms are often sensory and very difficult to evaluate since a newborn cannot provide verbal reports of sensation. Therefore, it is up to the astute CranioSacral therapist to locate the system dysfunctions without much feedback besides crying and other signs of discomfort. Occasionally, the suctioning is done rather roughly, and actual bony dysfunction of the hard palate, zygomata and/or mandible can occur. These problems are more flagrant, and therefore more easily discovered during the evaluative process. What is discovered must then be addressed.
Other postpartum craniosacral problems are usually seen as they relate to injuries, like dropping the newborn. These are all individual and unique problems for which each child must be evaluated. The CranioSacral therapist must address what he or she finds.
Craniosacral System Evaluation and Protocol
I have spoken a lot about CST and its uses in the delivery room and during the early stages of the newborn child's life. In closing, I would like to describe the initial evaluation and protocol as I do it in the delivery room or the nursery.
First, I simply hold the skull vault of the child's head in one hand and evaluate for tightness and/or asymmetry over the whole skull-vault surface. Then I insert one finger of the other hand into the child's mouth and try to induce the sucking response. If it occurs, I enhance it in synchrony with the child's own rhythm. This enhancement is done in the form of gentle finger pressure on the roof of the mouth with each suck. If no sucking occurs, I will gently and rhythmically press on the roof of the mouth. As this rhythmical hard-palate pressure is continued, I can feel the skull vault expanding slowly. In this way, and by gently sculpting with the skull-vault hand, skull asymmetries and overriding can usually be corrected.
Next, I release the occipital base by laying one or two fingers under the back of the neck. These fingers support the upper cervical vertebrae in an anterior position while, with the other hand, I very gently urge the occiput to "back off" of the atlas. Once this is accomplished - and it seldom takes a full minute - I keep my occiput hand where it is. I move the other hand down to the pelvis and gently traction between the occiput and pelvis. This technique is used to release strains induced by "pulling" the newborn through the birth canal.
Frequently, I feel a sort of unraveling process along the spine as I do this technique. I believe many cases of scoliosis are headed off right here, just as many cases of hyperactivity and learning disabilities are avoided by the occipital-base release and the skull-vault molding.
I move both hands to the pelvis and, holding one half of the pelvis in each hand, I release and balance this region. I release the shoulders and rib cage by holding one half of the upper torso in each hand and releasing and balancing, just as I did with the pelvis. This total evaluation and protocol should not take more than five to 10 minutes. If specific problem areas do not resolve, the child should be seen again for re-evaluation and therapy within 24 hours.
This rather innocuous session with a newborn may head off problems later in life. It is a worthwhile, minimal-risk investment in a child's future.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.