Further dig into the subject of birth trauma after I posted two articles on Overlooked Birth Trauma and Mental Imprint from Birth, in many occasions I have learned about a gentle treatment for mothers and babies to settle their emotional trauma from their birth experience through light touch. It is more respectful to babies. As babies are sensitive to touch, babies respond well to these treatments. This type of therapy is called Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. It is an effective method in balancing the flow of the “fluid” body by “feeling or listen to” the body’s emotional reaction through light touching certain part of the body.
I have recently interviewed Ms Adida Shahab, a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist and an assistant tutor training people to become Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist. She has agreed to share her knowledge in how the thought patterns during pregnancy and birth can shape the mental health and physical health of the mothers and babies. Below is her article.
Pregnancy, birth and early life are profound and formative times. What babies experience during conception and birth can become imprinted early in life and these experiences could affect their full development and potential as they mature.
My Experience Working with Pregnant Women and New Mothers
I have worked with a number of mothers who claimed that the birth was wonderful. However, when I started working with them and their babies, it became clear that most of the mothers might still be holding some left over issues around their pregnancy and their babies.
Some of these issues are:
Stressed at work during pregnancy
Those with previous miscarriages fear that they may miscarry,
Anxiety of pregnancy
Anxiety of becoming a new mother
After birth they may also carry the disappointment that the birth process did not go the way they had planned and envisioned, like not wanting epidural but had to get one due to the overwhelmed pain, birth had to be assisted through forceps or caesareans, etc.
Women Who Could Not Conceive
I had a client, Ann (name changed for confidential reasons) from Abu Dhabi who was 7 months pregnant. She came to Singapore to give birth so that she could receive support from her family. Fortunately for Ann, before she moved to Abu Dhabi, she has had Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy sessions with my colleague in England where she was originally from. She told me that she and her husband were trying for many years to have a baby, but their successful career and fast paced lifestyle caused them lots of anxiety and stress. After several Biodynamic Craniosacral sessions in England, she felt that her body was in an optimum state thus enabling her to conceive a baby. She was happy to have found me in Singapore so that she would be able to continue with this therapy to prepare her mentally as well as physically for birth. Her baby was in a breech position, which caused her much anxiety as her obstetrician had advised birth via caesarean. With the treatments, Ann was able to remain calm and relax during the last few weeks of pregnancy. She was able to sleep well as there was less pain and ache in her lower back. Fortunately for Ann her lower back muscles and pelvic floor muscles decompressed and unwind its tension, thereby her baby repositioned herself before birth. Ann gave birth naturally with little intervention and without complications to a baby girl last June.
Relieve of Physical and Emotional Stress During Pregnancy
A woman experiences dramatic changes in her body during pregnancy. I saw Jennifer when she was around 7 months pregnant. She was not sleeping well and was suffering from pelvic pain. This is a frequent complaint amongst pregnant women. The weight of the growing baby can put a strain on the spine. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy encourages fluid flow to the spine, sacrum and surrounding tissues, hence allowing the muscles and ligaments to relax. This in turn will allow the spine to relax and release the compression and tension around the nerves thereby releasing the impinged nerves that cause pain in the lower back and pelvis. After two sessions, Jennifer was able to sleep with ease and pain free.
Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is a hands-on therapy. Unlike massage, which works on 8% of the body system, Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy works on 92% of our body system. This is because Biodynamic Craniosacral extends to all the fluid sub-compartments (intracellular fluids, extracellular fluids like blood plasma and interstitial fluid, and transcellular fluid in organs – gastrointestinal, cerebrospinal, peritoneal and ocular) as one entity called the fluid body.
A well-known osteopath, Andrew Taylor Still (the father of osteopathic medicine) says:
“To find Health should be the object of the physician. Anyone can find disease.”
In Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, we as practitioners, orientate to health in our body system. Are there potency, the vibrancy and strength in the flow of energy?
Is there motility, movement within structures of the body?
Is there fluid tidal rhythm, as well as tissue tensile field flow (the circulatory flow of the fluid body mentioned above)?
The emphasis in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is to help resolve the trapped forces that underlie and govern patterns of disease and fragmentation in both body and mind. The intention of treatment is to facilitate the expression of the Breath of Life, thereby allowing the body to self-regulate.
In our body, all healthy, living tissues subtly ‘breathe’ with the motion of life – a phenomenon that produces rhythmic impulses. The presence of these subtle rhythms in the body was discovered by osteopath Dr William Sutherland over 100 years ago after a remarkable insight he had while examining the specialised articulations of cranial bones. He demonstrated the existence of this motion and eventually concluded it is produced by the body’s inherent life force, which he referred to as the Breath of Life.
During the course of our lives our bodies become conditioned according to how we cope with stress. If we are unable to dissipate the effect of these experiences, they become locked in the body as sites of inertia where nothing is moving- until a time that we become able to process and resolve them. These sites of inertia compromise the natural rhythmical movements of the Breath of Life, leading to a sense of fragmentation and hindering the ability of our essential health to manifest at a cellular level.
When we are stressed, we become alert; your body responds by activating the nervous system and releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. We call this a hyper arousal state. These hormones prepare the body for emergency action, our heart beats faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure increases, breath quickens, and our senses become sharper. These physical changes increase our strength and stamina, speed our reaction time, and enhance our focus – preparing us to either fight or flight from the danger at hand.
|Here are some early signs and symptoms of stress|
|Cognitive Symptoms||Emotional Symptoms|
|Poor memory and forgetful Poor concentration Poor judgment Seeing only the negative Anxious or racing thoughts Anxiety||Moodiness Irritability or short temper Agitation, inability to relax Feeling overwhelmed Sense of loneliness and isolation Depression or general unhappiness|
|Physical Symptoms||Behavioural Symptoms|
|Aches and pains Diarrhea or constipation Giddiness, dizziness and nausea Chest pain, rapid heartbeat Loss of sex drive Frequent colds and cough||Eating more or less Poor sleeping patterns Procrastinating Consuming alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)|
The relaxation response kicks in when we perceive the danger is over, and our autonomic nervous system functioning returns to normal. During this response, the body moves from a state of physiological arousal (stated above), to a state of re,axation, where blood pressure, heart rate, digestive functioning and hormonal levels return to their normal state.
However, in times of chronic stress, when we are in a constant state of physiological arousal over perceived threats that are numerous and not life-threatening, our body is unable to trigger the relaxation response. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy can help our body to self-regulate and brings us to a state of relaxation response.
Prenatal Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy is an excellent way for a pregnant woman to get in touch with her body and growing baby. Sessions may relieve physical and emotional stress thereby making her more physically ready for labour and prepare her mentally and emotionally for motherhood”.
You can opt to join our upcoming Free Talk on HypnoBirthing and a Gentle Treatment for Mothers and Babies at the right site of this weblog.
If you have experience this type of treatment or other treatment that you find helpful, please share and comment in this blog.