Sunday, August 9, 2009

Craniosacral Therapy

Emma had her first appointment for Craniosacral therapy on Tuesday. This is usually considered an alternative therapy, but many people use it as a complement to traditional therapy techniques. The therapy is based on the work of William Sutherland, D.O. and Dr. John Upledger and is a hands-on approach to enhancing the craniosacral system which is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord.

I had heard from many other parents that they are seeing benefits of using craniosacral therapy with their children with cerebral palsy, so after researching it and finding out that it cannot hurt Emma and might help we decided to set-up an appointment. I found a therapist in our area by visiting the Upledger Institute home page and selecting find a therapist. I called the office and spoke to the doctor at length about the therapy, her working with a child that has a cochlear implant (she does work with a couple children with CIs!) and she also gave me phone numbers for a couple of parents to contact about their experiences with craniosacral work on their children with cerebral palsy. Speaking to the parents was great - in addition to getting information on the therapy, I now have a couple more people to contact regarding school questions, doctor recommendations, etc.

Emma had her first appointment this past Tuesday. It was in the afternoon, smack dab in the middle of her typical nap time but she was really good for the appointment. She thinks Emma has a lot of potential and found some tight spots in her soft tissue that she worked on relieving the tension. If you were in the appointment with us, you probably would wonder why I'm spending money on this therapy. It appeared to me that the doctor was pretty much just holding Emma, but I know that she was doing the therapy. Thank goodness Chris wasn't with me! He isn't completely on board with alternative therapies to begin with and if he was at the visit and saw what we were paying for he sure wouldn't be on board. However, how Emma has behaved since this visit is very interesting.

We came home that day just in time for Emma's 2pm speech therapy appointment. She should have been completely exhausted as she didn't get her standard nap, but she wasn't. Her body was really relaxed and she was really focused on the speech session. It is one of the best sessions ever. Her therapist was so excited that she stayed longer not wanting to leave while Emma was so engaged! On Wednesday she had her AV session. She has not been very focused or interested in this therapy for a few weeks and her therapist was beginning to wonder if we should have her CI checked out. So, when she was completely attentive and actively participating in her therapy session on Wednesday we were both thrilled.

As for communication, Emma has been making a lot of vowel sounds but her consonant production is spotty. She is making good progress with her CI, but not setting any records. I think she would be making much better progress if it wasn't such an effort - sometimes it seems as if takes a whole body effort to make sound - for her to vocalize. She is such a social girl that she really wants to communicate and usually defaults to smiles and eye gaze. Since her craniosacral therapy session, she has been talking a lot more, making vowel/consonant sounds repeatedly, blowing a bit of raspberries and generally making more sounds without expending as much effort.

Chris and I had a conversation about Emma this weekend. Since he is VERY skeptical of alternative therapies I thought his observations this week would be a better measure than mine. I was happy to find that Chris noticed the same changes in Emma that I did so it wasn't just wishful thinking on my part. Now, is this due to craniosacral therapy or not? I have no idea, but I sure love the recent progress. We'll keep up with the craniosacral therapy and already have her next two appointments scheduled. I'll continue to update everyone on her progress.

3 Comments from readers:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that sounds like pretty measurable progress to me Kristina! How exciting is that? You've given me much food for thought!

Kara Melissa said...

Great to read your post. I am taking my son in for his first Osteopathy-Cranialsacral Therapy next week. We are also doing Anat Baniel Method and HBOT. I am excited your dauhgter had such a great response to the Cranialsacral! I look forward to reading more updates!

Sue Kelly (suekellyiii@verizon.net) said...

Hi! I have a child born with CMV. His name is Ryan and he just turned 9 in May. I never even considered alternative medicine until I had him. We did Craniosacral with him and we saw some great changes. (And don't worry, my husband is a skeptic too. I think most of them are :o) Another great therapy that we do is Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation (ABR). It has improved Ryan's quality of life drastically. He would not be where he is today with out it. You should check it out - www.abrcanada.com. Good luck with your daughter. She's a doll!