health, vitality and wellbeing

cranio-sacral therapy

Tanja Råman RCST

My research and thoughts...

By tanja, Jan 9 2017 07:24PM

Tammikuusta 2017 lähtien tarjoan alle vuoden ikäisille vauvoille ilmaista kranio-sakraaliterapia hoitoa jokaista vauvan vanhemman itselleen ostamaa hoitoa vastaan. Tällä pyrin siihen, että vauvan vanhemmat ymmärtävät millaista hoitoa vauva saa. Yritän myös kannustaa varsinkin pienten vauvojen äitejä huolehtimaan itsestään vauvan hyvinvoinnin yhteydessä. 

Vauvat ovat erittäin herkkiä ihmisten väliselle energeettiselle kommunikaatiolle ja he luovat todella syvän yhteyden äitiinsä raskauden ja ensimmäisen vuotensa aikana. Tällöin varsinkin äidin jaksaminen ja hyvinvointi vaikuttavat myös vauvan hyvinvointiin. Kun äiti voi hyvin, silloin yleensä myös vauva on tyytyväinen ja rauhallinen. Stressaantuneessa perhepiirissä vauvakin saattaa oireilla herkemmin ja kärsiä mm. uni- ja ruuansulatusongelmista, ihottumista tai muista stressioireiluista. Stressaantunut äiti erittää stressihormonia, jota vauva saa sekä äidinmaidossa että tuoksuna iholla. Stressi – oli se sitten fyysistä tai henkistä – saa kehomme valmiustilaan vaaran uhatessa. Pitkäkestoisena stressi on kuitenkin kuluttavaa ja keho alkaa oireilla.

Tarkoituksenani ei ole syyllistää vanhempia vauvan oireilujen vuoksi, vaan auttaa perheitä tarkastelemaan vauvan oireilua laajemmassa kontekstissa – kokonaisvaltaisemmin, yhteydessä muuhun perheeseen. Olemme sosiaalisia olentoja ja sosiaaliset yhteytemme vaikuttavat olennaisella tavalla hyvinvointiimme ja terveyteemme enemmän kuin arvaammekaan, kuten Emma Seppälä kirjoittaa artikkelissaan Connectedness & Health: The Science of Social Connection. Oireita tarkastellessamme on aina tärkeää pyrkiä selvittämään niiden syy. Vauvan sairastelu ja oireilu ovat perheelle haastavaa, mutta silloin kannattaa pysähtyä ja tarkastella myös omaa jaksamistaan tilanteessa.

Useimmiten, ja syystä, asetamme pienen vauvan tarpeet etusijalle. Kiireen ja unettomuuden kourissa helposti unohdamme huolehtia itsestämme, joka puolestaan saattaa aiheuttaa kireää ilmapiiriä kotona ja pahentaa myös vauvan oireilua. Tämä puolestaan stressaa vanhempia yhä enemmän. Syntyy selittämättömien oireiden ja pahoinvoinnin kierre, joka voi tuntua vaikealta katkaista ilman ulkopuolista apua. 

Monia lapsuuden tyypillisiä oireiluja voidaan hoitaa kranio-sakraaliterapian avulla. Hoidossa käytetyn hellävaraisen kosketuksen ansiosta sitä voidaan käyttää myös vaikean synnytyksen jälkihoitona. Kranio-sakraaliterapia pyrkii rentouttamaan hermostoa ja sitä kautta lievittämään stressin aiheuttamaa oireilua. Säännöllisellä kranio-sakraaliterapia hoidolla on yleensä hermostoa tasapainoittava vaikutus. Se voi auttaa vanhempia myös jaksamaan paremmin vaikeidenkin aikojen läpi.

By tanja, Nov 12 2015 04:32PM

Touch is a subject that I have been interested through my work as a dance artist and as a therapist. Touch is powerful. It is considered the deepest form of communication and has a profound influence on us. Violent and abusive touch leaves the victim deeply effected - often with life-long traumas - especially if it has happened in childhood. Gentle and caring touch, on the other hand, has many emotional and physical health benefits and there is no wonder why warm and non-sexual touching is a very important part of many ancient and current healing and therapy practices.

According to Finnish child psychologist, Jukka Mäkelä in this interview, gentle touch is as vital for a child’s development as is good sleep, food and exercise. Touch has a profound influence on our brains and our development as people. It is commonly known that skin-to-skin contact helps babies to calm down, reassures them and supports their immune system. It is also commonly known that a parents’ loving touch enables premature babies to gain weight quicker and to regulate their bodily functions better.

During gentle touch our brains secrete a hormone called oxytocin. It makes us feel good, improves our ability to deal with stress, as well as reduces blood pressure and pain. It also promotes trust in other people. Swedish research found that gentle massage amongst young children in pre-school reduced aggressive behaviour in them.

Touch is important to an adult’s health and wellbeing too. Our Western cultures, however, can be touch-deprived as Dacher Keltner, professor in psychology, says in his article: Hands On Research: The Science of Touch. Warm touch signals safety and trust, which calms down cardiovascular stress and activates our vagus nerve that is linked with compassionate responses. According to Keltner, people who are more tactile can even succeed better economically.

There are many reasons to give a hug to someone!

By tanja, Aug 12 2015 07:02AM

During this summer I moved from UK to Finland with my family. The main reason for our move was to raise our children here and to give them opportunity to grow up more freely. According to research by the University of Westminster, Finland ranks top in children's freedom to play outside unsupervised, whereas England comes seventh.

This summer has been about learning to live in the Finnish way. Although I am originally from Finland, 18 years of living in the UK has left its mark. As a parent this summer has been about letting go of 'unnecessary' worrying. There is a great sense of space in Finland, which I believe contributes to the fact that the Finnish are more relaxed about letting their children out on their own to cross roads and even after dark at an early age. Finland also has amazing pedestrian/cycling paths that make it easy and safe for children to travel on their own.

Just how have our lives changed since our move? We lived in a typical terraced house in Cardiff in Wales and we never let out children to go out of the front door to play outside without us. Although the road in front of the house was closed at one end, we didn't feel safe to let them play outside there due to cars and other people who were regularly hanging out at the end of the street. Our children ended up playing in the small back garden that was surrounded by high walls and they could only hear the neighbour's children and if they climbed up to the bottom branches of our tree they could see their heads. I feel so sorry for them now.

We are now living in Oulu in Northern Finland, which is claimed to be the capital of Northern Scandinavia with around 92,000 people living here. At the moment, we are renting a semi-detached house with its own yard around it. There is a low picket fence around the yard but no gate. Our children are allowed to go out to play on their own as they wish as long as they stay in the yard. Even our two-year old is allowed to do that on her own. Little by little we have learnt to trust her and she is loving it. I occasionally check the children through a window and let them play uninterrupted.

Our older son is starting school today at the age of seven. After a few times walking the school journey he will be walking it on his own like his classmates. Fortunately, it is only a short distance. We have already started to practice how to travel safely and let him walk on his own between home and the nearby skate park, crossing the quiet road in front of our house.

There is generally less fear and anxiety about letting children play outdoors in Finland and you can clearly sense that. There are, for example, no fences around any schools - the children are trusted to enter and exit the school themselves.

How does freedom benefit our children? There are many articles that suggest the health benefits of children playing outdoors, including imroved physical fitness, better distance vision, increased intake of vitamin-D and reduced stress. I also believe that there are other benefits relating to the sense of responsibility and achievement that comes from looking after yourself. I am curious to observe my children and see how their freedom to play will shape them in the future.

cycling in the yard
cycling in the yard

By tanja, Feb 21 2015 07:03PM

I came across this video clip of a TED talk called: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime by paediatrician Nadine Burke Harris. She explains scientifically how adverse experiences in childhood, such as the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues, increase the risk of heart disease, lung cancer and other health issues later in adult life.

When under threat, our body switches into a fight-flight-fright mode to protect us. This means that our sympathetic nervous system takes over, causing faster heart and breathing rate, dilated pupils and release of adrenaline into the blood stream - amongst other physiological changes. This mechanism is good for short bursts of time to deal with sudden incidents. However, prolonged stress causes constant overuse of the sympathetic nervous system and depletes the body’s natural resources, resulting in poor health.

It is great to hear that a well-respected medical professional is taking into account the whole person and acknowledging the importance of a balanced body-mind connection for our wellbeing. This is something that alternative medicine and therapy practitioners have been aware of for long time, but mainstream medical practice has been slower to accept. I also believe that science and alternative therapies don't have to be mutually exclusive.

By tanja, Oct 27 2013 12:37PM

A few more weeks have passed and I have been observing the development of my new baby. Birth is an intense experience for all involved, including dads. However, we all experience it differently. We often only hear about the mother’s side of the story, forgetting how the dad and the baby might have felt about it. Just because the baby is not able to speak doesn’t mean that she is not trying to communicate and express herself. For some reason, we also seem to think that the baby’s experience is somewhat similar to the mother’s experience. This is not necessarily the case.

I had what I could describe as a very good pregnancy and a wonderful and easy home birth and yet my daughter went through a period of intense crying. She seemed to have a typical case of colic – crying loud and inconsolably (usually in the evenings). As a mother this was heart-breaking and tiring, but as a practitioner this was a useful eye-opener.

I noticed that my daughter’s nervous system was very charged. She struggled to relax and fall asleep in the daytime as she was constantly distracted by any visual and audible stimulation, however small they might have been. This caused her to become over-tired by early evening and she had to resort to crying herself into exhaustion in order to fall asleep. Her eyes were often bulging out when she looked around as if she was panicking and her body became ridged when she cried.

Once I had recovered enough I started treating her with cranio-sacral therapy on a regular basis to sooth and relax her. I discovered compression in the base of her cranium and in the sides of her head, near the ears, as if her head had been squashed in. This is quite a normal birth pattern for a baby who is born vaginally. Usually these patterns smoothen or even disappear naturally over time and with breastfeeding. In some babies, however, these patterns may persist – perhaps due to emotional shock from a fast delivery or perhaps due to being distressed during labour.

To gain a second opinion, I took my daughter to see a Bristol-based cranio-sacral therapist Matthew Appleton, who specialises in working with babies. He is also psychotherapist, which he applies in his cranio-sacral practice. Matthew made me pay attention to my daughter’s body language, which clearly indicated where she was feeling/had felt pain. My daughter was a week late, she was quite a big girl when she was born and she had been engaged low in the pelvis for some weeks before the labour started. Therefore it is likely that the compressive patterns around her ears had already developed during the end of pregnancy, whereas her sense of panic seemed to be more linked with the shock caused by the speedy nature of the labour.

During this treatment, my daughter re-visited her birth, physically acting out the different stages of labour. She also expressed a lot of anger, pain and panic through her body language and cry as she progressed through her story. At the end of her story, she relaxed and fell asleep for a couple of hours. The following day she repeated her birth story a few times, but each time with less intensity and for a shorter period of time. After each time she seemed relaxed and calm. After a few days she had settled and, although still crying at times, her cry seemed to clearly link with wanting for food or sleep and it never went on for long and we knew we would be able to settle her.

This experience taught me the importance of listening to our children – whatever the age. What I had been trying to do with my daughter was to make her feel better rather than let her ‘tell’ me about how she felt. How would you feel if you were living in a comfortable home and one day you were chucked out to the street and people around you where not listening to you or telling you that it’s ok? In that context, it is perhaps easier to understand the feelings of anger, loss, pain and other more difficult emotions. What about if you had not even initiated your move or prepared yourself for it or if you were pulled out of your home with force? This experience made me also re-evaluate my son’s birth five years ago. He was induced. He hates been rushed even now. Is this just a coincidence or does our experience of entering the world fundamentally shape our personality?

Birth is an intense process whatever way you are born – caesarean section has its own effect on the baby to do with the sudden change of pressure, although she might not have similar compressive patterns in cranium than those born via birth canal. Perhaps it is not so much about what happens during the birth, but that we have someone who listens to us, which allows us to process what has happened to us and to leave it behind without it shadowing us later in life.