My son is now two years old, and although he was treated for his torticollis using physical therapy, I was concerned that the torticollis seemed to be returning and may not have been fully addressed. At the advice of his Occupational Therapist, I contacted Janet Carstarphen, a Cranial Sacral therapist (also known as Craniosacral therapy) in our area, to do some work on his neck. Janet was highly recommended and it turns out she had worked on another little boy we know who has Down Syndrome, and was developing a flat head after his heart surgery. The craniosacral therapy apparently completely resolved his flattening with no need for a helmet.
My son absolutely loves the treatments, and he gets very relaxed and sleepy during them. My son is quite stiff in the neck and jaw, and his speech therapist felt that this kind of work would also help with his speech delays. Interestingly enough, after just the first treatment he started using a lot of different sounds and saying more words. I also had Janet work on my neck, so I could see what the therapy was like. The touch is very gentle and there was very little actual movement of my head and neck, but it felt like my neck became stretched and elongated during the session. It was extremely relaxing.
I asked Janet if she would kindly write an article for my blog explaining more about how Craniosacral therapy works, and using it for treating head flattening and torticollis, and the information below comes directly from her. You can find more information on her website.
My name is Janet Carstarphen and I am a Cranial Sacral Therapist. My practice is the area of Jacksonville including the beaches. I have been a Cranial Sacral Therapist for 20 years. My practice includes problems that sometimes accompany new born babies, such as colic, little ones who suffer from separation anxiety, trouble nursing and inability to thrive. I also work with Flat Head Syndrome (plagiocephaly) and torticollis.
Several years ago I was contacted by a Mom of two little girls ages 20 months and 4 months old. Both babies had Flat Head Syndrome. I began working 3 times a week on the baby and some work on the older little girl as well. The baby was very severe in her misshaped head. After 6 months her head was almost completely smooth and with normal curves. When we began the therapy her forehead was so misshaped that you could not see her eyes. As the therapy continued into the 6th month the sides of her head appeared within normal limits and the back of her head was also perfectly curved. Now you could see her beautiful eyes. The parents were so happy that they had waited and tried another form of therapy more homeopathic.
Since that time I have been contacted by other families with babies with the Flat Head Syndrome. At the present time there are not many options available to help the body create a smoother shaped head. The Cranial Sacral Therapy is light touch on the baby’s head (the sides of the head or the temporal bones) and sometimes concentrating on the back or the occiput. After a few sessions a difference can be seen. As the light touch continues, the process of working with the fluids (blood, and spinal fluid to name a few) and directing them to areas that are more rigid and not as pliable as the other side of the skull. These bones respond to this therapy and soften. The affected bones relax around the cranial sutures and the head begins to appear more symmetrical. The healing process is similar with torticollis. The muscles relax with each session as the fluid flow increases
around this compromised area and the range of motion becomes fuller.
I would like to thank Sarah for this opportunity to introduce this therapy to the community of families researching a more homeopathic approach for the Flat Head Syndrome and torticollis. For more information please refer to my web page lifeworks-eachday.com.
The letter below is a testimonial from the parent of two little girls that Janet treated, and explains her very positive experiences with Janet and the craniosacral therapy for their flat heads.
Hi Janet,Here are a couple of pictures of the girls. I don’t have very many of their heads (they don’t stand still really well). I would love to recommend you to any client. I feel like my girls benefitted from your expertise both physically and emotionally/mentally. I actually considered calling you to work on Mariana because she is having quite a bit of separation and social anxiety and I thought you may be able to assist us with some cranial therapy (if you think it may help, please call me).As for our past experience with you, I found you to be a joy and comfort to work with my children (and me). As a therapist, you were approachable, had a great bedside manner and you were also very professional. During the 6 months to a year that you saw both my children (and me, occasionally) you were either attending educational conferences or reading the latest article/study relating to your felid of study. As doctors discussed putting a helmet on Jennifer Ann’s head, I found your counsel to be educated, informed and as non-biased as possible. While you counseled against the helmet, you did were not defensive or frustrated as Paul and I made our decision. You were honest, gave us through answers and were able to show us visible changes to both our girls as we made our decisions.From a financial standpoint, you were very fair to us as a family. You understood our limitations and you were willing and able to work within the budget that we set to resolve Mariana and Jennifer Ann’s issues.As a person in general, I often find myself wondering how you are doing and missing our conversations as the girls settled into their therapy (often falling asleep sitting up). You provided me hours of free parenting advice and put to ease several of my concerns as a new mom.Any of your new or potential clients are always welcome to reach out to me with questions or concerns that they may have. As you may recall, we received some push back from our pediatrician as we sought more homeopathic remedies to our flat headed girls; thus, Paul and I both did a great deal of research concerning cranial therapies. We are so pleased with our decision to have you work with our family and we would love to share our experience with any one who is curious about the path we travelled.As a side note: Irene, our part time nanny, has often recommended you to parents who have similar issues. I am not sure any of those referrals have become clients but I know she would also speak highly of you and the treatments you perform.Sincerely,Carrie Saunders