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5-6 Sydney Terrace, Claygate
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Craniosacral therapy, Claygate Surrey

Craniosacral Therapy For Mothers And Babies

By Andrew Radley - Craniosacral Therapist

One of the things I most enjoy about being a craniosacral therapist is having the privilege of working regularly with Mothers and Babies.

Having a child is one of life’s most profound events. Craniosacral Therapy (CST) can help provide support to mothers, partners and babies in this period of physical, emotional and psychological change.

Ante-natal Treatments:

As your body supports, holds, and nurtures your developing baby, CST can provide a calm, welcoming and accepting space where you can be supported, held and nurtured.

Modern life is fast-paced, and full of competing calls on our attention. Our autonomic nervous system - the control system of the body that is largely unconscious - can often get overstimulated into a fight / flight state (sympathetic branch). CST can help you regulate your autonomic nervous system and gently bring your body into the rest / digest state (parasympathetic branch).

Studies have shown that finding a calm, spacious time for yourself and settling your nervous system, is not only good for you, but it can also be very beneficial for the developing nervous system of your child.

As your body changes and softens to accommodate your growing baby and prepares to give birth, CST can also help relieve the minor ailments such as back, shoulder and neck pain, that sometimes can accompany this time.

Treatments are carried out fully clothed, normally whilst side-lying on a treatment couch. It is common to feel warmth, gentle tingling and a greater sense of ease as your body softens, opens and releases.

Baby Treatments:

Birth is a natural process that evolution has designed us to experience, but it is not always easy. It can be a tough transition from womb to the outside world for some little ones and their mums!

Newborns can face many challenges including tongue tie, poor latch for sucking, colic, constipation, torticollis, gastric reflux or sleep issues. Often these issues are related to their birth journey, even if interventions such as forceps or ventouse extraction haven’t taken place.

Constrictions from the birth can be held in the neck, skull, spine, shoulders and hips which, in turn can restrict the cranial, spinal and peripheral nerves, interfering with feeding and sleep patterns, as well as how well the baby is able to settle.

CST can help your baby find more ease and comfort as well as providing an open, welcoming space for them to gently process any residual birth experiences that might still be held in their bodies, or process and release shock from their nervous systems.

Studies have shown that a couple of treatments at this early stage can reap huge benefits in a baby’s future, helping support the next stages of their neurological and relational development.

I always work with mothers and babies together – and fathers or partners are always welcome to join the session! At this early stage of life, a baby’s nervous system is very highly attuned to the nervous systems of its primary caregivers. I often find that when a mother and father are able to find space and process the birth for themselves, (or even just the exhaustion of having a newborn), the baby begins to settle too, and bonding between the family unit deepens in a really beautiful way.

As CST is totally non-manipulative and extremely gentle, it is suitable for babies of all ages. I generally work with babies whilst they are in their mother’s arms, on her lap or whilst feeding, but I’m also very used to working with babies in car seats. I often like to work with mother and baby together on the treatment couch if it feels appropriate.

A typical session will be between 30 mins and an hour. You should see a difference after one treatment, but several sessions might be required depending on how established restrictions have become.

If you have any questions about CST and whether it might be able to help you or your baby please get in touch either by calling the Complementary Health Partnership reception on 01372 464 659 or emailing me using the form below

     

     

    Massage at Claygate Clinic

    The Beneficial Effects Of Massage

    By Laura Stonehouse - Massage Therapist

    Recent research is encouraging a fresh approach on how we view the benefits of massage to the point  that it could become part of a number of prescribed strategies to treat patients within the NHS itself. According to a report by the British Beauty Council produced in early 2021, massage therapy could reduce sick days by 1.76 million. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy commissioned the Report after the phenomenon was brought to their attention.  Key findings of the Report demonstrate that touch therapy as well as massage can have a significant effect on reducing mental health problems.  Mental ill-health is the single largest cause of disability in the UK, contributing up to 22.8% of the total burden compared to 15.9% for cancer.

    So what are the benefits of massage and how can it support both the body and the mind? First of all, as within the first few minutes your mind will be (and should be) in a state of total relaxation (stress relief), your body is becoming active and in a state of recovery and renewal.  A massage stimulates the nervous system, wakes up your muscles, organs and glands, encourages blood and lymph circulation and increases the production of chemicals and hormones.  In short, massage helps the body to renew itself and reverse the effects of stress.  Massage and touch therapies can help manage back, neck and shoulder pain, support fatigue, osteoarthritis, cancer symptoms and fibromyalgia – and this list is not exhaustive.

    Let’s explore the benefits even further.  The first moments of a massage will involve a series of deep inhalations; controlled, deep breathing is one of the first strategies in stress relief, and anxiety management.  Those first few moments are signals to your mind and your body that it is a safe place to rest and recover. As you relax your nervous system goes into recovery mode as well and for those areas of pain and tension on the nerves from tight muscles, there is relief.  This in turn reduces the production of stress hormones and increases the presence of endorphins – you feel happier, you begin to feel better in yourself.  Your body and your mind rebalance, you will generally sleep well after a massage.  Hormones that regulate sleep/ wake cycle, menstrual cycles, immune cells, blood sugar and even your appetite will perform better as the body and the mind find much needed relaxation.

    As we are searching for much needed moments in our day from the stress and pressure of everyday life, this is one moment, one treatment in fact, that no should no longer be seen as an indulgent luxury but as a necessary element in our self care.

    For more information about our massage services please visit our massage page 

    Call reception on 01372 464659 or fill in the form below

       

       

      The Power Of Touch

      By Zoë Ross - Massage Therapist

      I sat on a train to Devon last Summer and listened intently to a podcast by the brilliant and enthusiastic Dr Chatterjee who welcomed discussion over the power of touch and how it is fast becoming a diminishing sense.

      I was reminded of this topic only yesterday when I called a patient (now friend) who has been self- isolating for over 6 weeks, he mentioned to me that he had not touched or been touched by anyone in that time, and how in a fleeting moment he felt saddened by this. He has a vast network of friendship groups who regularly ‘meet up’ via Zoom, and he has people willingly dropping food parcels and neighbours who check up on each other’s welfare, but it is not touch. It isn’t that instant sense of connection, or that soothing stroke, it isn’t the heartfelt warmth of a hug from a friend or partner, what we’re talking about here is a profound lack of positive touch.

      As a Body Therapist I am naturally tactile, I struggle not to hug people, stroke my dogs, hold the hands of my nephews or just place a hand on a friend’s back when they look like they need support. I like to touch, so why is it so taboo. Why do people fear it, why are we nervous about embrace? As children, we yearn for this touch and studies suggest babies who are cuddled often, have better growth rates and improved immune systems. We look at the chubby cheeks of a baby and their huge inquisitive eyes and we instinctively wish to reach out and touch (or pinch!) affectionately of course. It is natural human behaviour, but we have made it not so. Touch is a language. One we learn very quickly as a child, a vital form of non-verbal communication. A Parent’s touch enhances attachment, it can signify security, clapping hands together in a playful manner encourages play and makes babies giggle and a firm squeeze when crossing the road can help express potential danger.

      There are sadly too many times when we hear about the abuse of touch, the negative side to it, how it can used as a tool to make people feel fear, to immobilise them and bring about all sorts of mental and physical health concerns, impacting greatly on an individuals self-esteem, confidence in themselves and trust in others. This leaves people vulnerable and in a heightened state of stress.

      It is fundamental for touch to be consensual. The speaking out on this subject has empowered many who felt they had no voice, but in its wake, it has left this vital human sense clouded, almost like a dirty secret, the sordid world of touch. Ironically it is the one sense people seem to think they can do without but as the Psychologist Tony Robbins suggests ‘ there is no real substitute for touch’ Without sight, people turn to touch to feel their way through life, without sound, people use visual cues but without touch-what? Making touch consensual is crucial but eradicating it from our lives could ultimately be dangerous. It has a power to soothe, heal and promote wellbeing….and should outweigh our fear of it.

      Robbins also discusses a fascinating social experiment about how culturally touch is viewed very differently. A study in café’s around the world looked at physical interactions between people dining together, it gave a startling indicator as to the expectations of touch globally. In Puerto Rico for example, the average times people at a table touched was 200 per hour, in Paris this dropped to 40 times, again in New York just 5 times and sadly in London 0. Not once did the diners gathered (whether friends, family, colleagues) touch one another.

      There is no denying that the power of positive touch can be profound, as a Therapist I know this to be true, the unique connection between a Patient and Therapist is symbolic of how enhancing touch can be. As you physically feel tension release under your hands and a trust building between you and them, the body responds to touch, and as the skin is the largest organ at approx. 2 metres it is indeed the pathway to touch. Touch, among other things, can reduce stress, heart rate and blood pressure. We are wired to experience touch, it is not a design flaw that we respond so well to it, from birth until the day we die, our need for physical contact remains

      As we sit and re-evaluate many areas of our lives during this somewhat strange time, thought should certainly be given to touch, it’s power to heal, express emotion, and connect deeply with people. Think about the first friend or relative you long to hug and know that contact will reinforce your connection to one another and set off a wonderful dose of endorphins. It is like a daily dose of happy medicine! Do not shy away from connection, positive touch should be worked on and we should look to cultivate this once normality resumes. Do not underestimate that touch given positively and consensually, with true meaning, is a great gift.

      For more information about our massage services please visit our massage page 

      Call reception on 01372 464659 or fill in the form below