Who Can Benefit
Newborns to Adults
Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine is highly beneficial for all newborns, since birth is capable of becoming our very first trauma. This trauma may be extreme, producing obvious injury. However, even when a normal birth appears to be completely trauma-free, the pressures applied to the infant's head can still cause some problems.
The infant's head plays a significant role in opening the birth canal. The normal pressures of birth cause the cranial bones to fold over one another. The membranes and fluid surrounding the brain act as a shock absorber. The nervous system, always attempting to maintain stability under duress, organizes around these forces. These protective mechanisms allow for maximum brain capacity and minimize brain trauma.
Many of the problems commonly experienced in infancy may be caused by the forces of labor and delivery. If the compressive forces of birth are too great, the nervous system may become overwhelmed, and the skull bones may not be able to fully re-expand to their normal ease after the birth. Some births may not appear at all problematic, but can still produce substantial compression. An abnormally quick labor may prove equally overwhelming as one that is long and difficult.
The newborn may become firmly imprinted by these compressive forces, producing structural imbalances and a variety of symptoms. These symptoms may range from minor variants of “normal” irritabilities (colic, acid reflux) to serious problems.
Many infants born by Cesarean Section first endure a long period of labor, with their heads lodged in the maternal pelvis. The delivering physician also may sometimes place considerable force on child's head, attempting to free the infant from the pelvic bowl. Though born by Cesarean Section, these infants may well suffer the ill effects of significant cranial pressure.
Osteopathic treatment eases the shock and restores vitality, allowing the nervous system to relax and heal so that the normal maturation processes can follow. Not all problems can be resolved, but many can be eased.
What kind of results can you expect? Every child is different. Some children have a very rapid and complete resolution of their presenting complaints. Some children require many treatments and recover only partially. Children with developmental delays may not change immediately, but will begin to mature at a more normal rate of development. Each circumstance must be considered for its unique aspects. As a general rule, it is always best to receive treatment as close in time to the traumatic insult as possible. Infants may actually benefit from receiving treatment immediately after birth. The less time the traumatic forces have to establish themselves in the tissues, the easier it is to clear them. Surprisingly, even stresses that have been long imprinted into our nervous systems can still be cleared many years later.
For more information on how OMM helps all newborns, please see this video featuring Dr. Macari during his residency at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.