Osteopathy for Babies & Children

Babies can experience a variety of medical problems when they are born. Long and difficult delivery but also pregnancy can be a reason of discomfort for the babies. Certain position in the mother’s pelvis, a narrow growing space and a breech presentation can all cause the baby pain from strong pressure points.

Manual Osteopaths can find minor problems and foresee what may worsen or become chronic over time based on observation. For that reason, osteopaths welcome all newborns for a preventive visit.

Babies and kids can greatly benefit from Osteopathy just as much as us, adults. Children’s stem cells have the JNK3 gene which allows children to respond to their physical environment more quickly and helps them heal faster than adults hence they can experience great recoveries.

Treatments that work well with Osteopathy:

What techniques are being used?

The aims for treatment of children are just the same as for us, adults – we are focusing on improving the body’s alignment and functioning by reducing muscle tension, improving joint mobility and calming nervous system. During a session, we use gentle soft tissue release, cranial osteopathy and dynamic muscular stabilization therapy (DNS) used to manage neurological and musculoskeletal conditions.

What is Cranial Osteopathy?

Cranial osteopathy is a gentlest type of osteopathic treatment that encourages the release of stresses and tensions throughout the body, including the head.

It is a gentle yet extremely effective approach and may be used in a wide range of conditions for people of all ages, from birth to old age.
Osteopaths may have different specialities including sports injuries, paediatrics, and visceral osteopathy (treating the internal organs of the body). Cranial osteopathy embraces all of these.

This is a technique developed by American Osteopath W.G. Sutherland, who noticed the incredible architecturally intricate nature of the skull bones and spent many years studying the bones and theorising on the may they fit together and move. He felt a slow rhythmic tide of fluid passing through the brain and body. Restrictions in the structures of the head and body inhibit the free flow of these fluids, leading to health and behaviour changed in babies, children and adults.

How DNS (Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) works

DNS is a great tool for babies or children that are experiencing developmental delay. The child’s early movement development of crawling, rolling, standing, walking & getting up is not taught. These are natural movements that are made by our Neuromuscular System. But early problems of growth and development may lead to longer – term postural problems or broader issues. Pediatric Osteopathic Assessment will evaluate a child’s physical and neurological ability to perform these movements. Sometimes simple advice on positioning and exercise can assist or specific hands-on Osteopathic care will help to enhance mobility.
We use the blueprint of infant development to inform optimal postural stabilization, movement, and gait. This blueprint is what we call a neurodevelopmental approach to assessing, rehabilitating, restoring, and optimizing human movement.
With focus on the core, DNS results in much stronger and coordinated movements. Since movement is all controlled by the brain, DNS exercises strengthens the neurological links within the brain to the body. The result is a strong core and limbs that maintain their strength and control, as they are dynamically moving.


During a session we focus on:

  • Motor control
  • Testing & correction of movement
  • Spinal deformities – scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis
  • Babies & children development
  • Evaluation & correction of poor respiratory patterns
Osteopathy Treatment Neck Pain North Vancouver

Treatments are hands on approach

During a session we use a very light pressure from the fingers on the baby’s body and head to release tension, assess the zones of restrictions of mobility, place joints and soft tissue into positions of ease. We utilize baby’s own breathing and general movements to help with the changes. Free from their small aches and pains, babies can develop normally and thrive. Sometimes, the treatment is so subtle that it will look like we are not moving our hands, while your baby is lying down.

Manual Osteopath treating Back Pain in North Vancouver

What happens during a Cranial Osteopathy session?

Very first step at the beginning of the session is to check the shape of the head. After that, we check if the head and neck align as required. After that we may begin to gently massage the baby’s muscles around the head and spinal cord. The neck and upper back are also important as they have some parts of the head muscles. Babies respond faster to CST because they have soft muscles, tissues, and bones: during cranial osteopathy, these parts of the body’s movements enhance the treatment process. It is also easier to feel the tension in babies’ muscles and joints compared to adults. Typically, a session of cranial osteopathy takes approximately 30 minutes. You should notice an improvement in your baby after the first session. Complete treatment will require two or three sessions. Nonetheless, physicians may request you for more sessions if your baby has more complicated conditions.

Benefits of Osteopathy session

With gentle and appropriate techniques, osteopaths can re-balance the baby’s tensions by working on the whole body (skull, spine, abdomen, pelvis, lower and upper limbs.) It can also release the tensions around the mouth (jaw, throat, soft palate) to allow your baby to breastfeed and bottle feed easily if having difficulty. Another benefits are sleep improvement, boosting baby’s immunity or helping with better digestion.

When to bring your baby?

You can bring your little one as early as you want. It is actually better to bring them early on. In some countries, Osteopaths treat babies right in the hospital. They do this in order to treat immediately after the birth and set them on the right path from the very beginning.

In addition to bringing your babies or kids for treatment when they for example suffer falls when playing in a playground, it’s a good idea to bring them in for a Osteopathic checkup once a year to follow up on their growth and development. We can get better chance to get to know your child’s body well enough to see new, emerging adaptations in their young bodies that can be corrected early on.


Learn why Kirsten O’Loughlin, Michal Kapic and Mehrdad Darvish are considered some of North Vancouver’s best Manual Osteopaths

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