Osteopathic and Anthroposophic Medicine pay special attention to the needs of children. Conditions during conception, pregnancy, and birth have far-reaching effects on future health and well being. In today’s rapidly moving global society, support and guidance for how to lead an unhurried life and meet the child with loving presence is essential. We offer specific recommendations for creating a nurturing environment for children through daily rhythm, adequate rest and warmth, nourishing foods and a balanced sensory diet.
How a child comes into the world and the intrauterine environment before birth affect how well-prepared the body is to encounter the world. Forces of growth and development continue to unfold rapidly after birth, with the nervous system playing a central role in guiding and directing this growth. Because of this, cranial osteopathy has special relevance in the care of children. Forces of labor and delivery on the newborn head and body may create compressions that do not spontaneously resolve; if birth is rapid, prolonged, or traumatic, even more so. Caesarian births also have associated complications: fluid may be retained in the lungs and body tissues, breathing may be sluggish, and primitive reflexes may not be adequately stimulated. Osteopathy actively supports the unfolding of developmental processes and addresses restrictions and limitations to growth and movement. This treatment has specific applications for infants and children related to developmental challenges and circumstances surrounding birth.
Developing a constitutional picture of the child is very helpful in order to address specific challenges and recurrent illness patterns. Growth and development occur in stages corresponding to seven year cycles of early, middle, and late childhood. Understanding these stages and the specific challenges and achievements unique to each is helpful in nurturing and fostering healthy development. How our children encounter and engage these various challenges, both in health and illness, gives us insight into their nature and individual needs and guides us toward healthy expression and symptom resolution.