After trying all the normal ways to calm her anxious, crying baby, Kerry Clayton was ready to try everything.
Her son Flynn, now four, was born with a stiff neck and often seemed to be in pain.
"He seemed uncomfortable after birth, unable to turn his head to the left and cry all the time," says Kerry, 29, a jewelery designer who lives in Maidstone, Kent, with accountant-husband David, 30 .
When Flynn was a few weeks old, she took him to a skull osteopath – a specialist in practical treatment with the lightest touch to manipulate the skull and spine.
Kerry Clayton & # 39; s son Flynn (now, now four) was born with a stiff neck and often seemed to be in pain. When Flynn was a few weeks old, she took him to a skull osteopath. Pictured: Kerry with her children
For babies & # 39; s it is said to be effective for treating irritability caused by colic, nutritional problems or disturbed sleep. In adults it can relieve head and neck pain, insomnia, stress, headache or digestive problems.
Flynn seemed to respond immediately.
& # 39; When I entered the clinic, he shouted his head off & # 39 ;, says Kerry. "The practitioner asked some questions, put Flynn on his arm, bounced him up and down, and began to wiggle his fingers over his head. Flynn quickly slept and he stayed that way for the entire 20 minutes.
"Afterwards he was so much quieter and slept better. We were so impressed, we gave him six more sessions and his sleep improved dramatically. & # 39;
Pippa Middleton, 36, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, recently admitted that she was trying the technique with her baby.
& # 39; Shortly after Arthur was born last year, I heard a few mothers talk about seeing a skull osteopath & # 39 ;, she wrote last week in Waitrose Weekend magazine.
She decided to look after Arthur and the treatment seemed to work. "I was fascinated to see how calming it was for Arthur," enthusiastically Pippa, who said she took her son when he was seven months old.
"The osteopath noticed that one side of his neck was tighter than the other, which explained why he preferred sleeping on one side. She also saw that his arms were stronger than his legs, so she gave me an exercise to help him. & # 39;
Pippa Middleton, 36, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, recently admitted that she was trying the technique with her baby
For a tired new mother, everything that helps a crying baby calm down is attractive. But is cranial osteopathy as good as his fans claim?
Practitioners say that many health problems are caused by compression or deformation of the skull bones that make up the skull – this can be caused when a baby passes through the birth canal. The theory is that this causes changes in the so-called skull rhythm, the pulse of fluids and tissues in the brain, which in turn can affect other parts of the body.
Cranial osteopaths claim that they can feel and use this pulse in the fluid around the brain and spinal cord to diagnose tensions and dysfunctions in the body.
"The treatment uses gentle, non-invasive techniques to manipulate the head and spine that affect the entire body," says Kam Panesar, an osteopath from Osteopathic Care in London.
Dr. Anthony Ordman, advisor pain specialist in Wellington and Royal Free Hospitals in London, says: "the scientific basis for skull osteopathy is far from clear". However, he agrees that some people seem to benefit from it.
Kerry said: "Afterwards he was so much calmer and slept better. We were so impressed, we gave him six more sessions and his sleep improved dramatically & # 39; (Kerry pictured with Flynn and Lyla, two)
"I suspect it is the effect of a caring human touch that brings many benefits, both to the baby and to the parents," he says. It can also help parents to feel that they regain control when they have felt helpless.
"As the parents become less stressed, the baby will feel this and become more relaxed," says Dr. Ordman.
Linda Walsh, of the Association of Pediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP), says the association cannot recommend cranial osteopathy due to insufficient evidence that it works.
"The profession of physical therapy requires evidence-based proof of safety, efficacy and quality assurance," she says.
Jewelery designer Kerry, 29, lives in Maidstone, Kent, with husband David, 30. Accountant: Kerry, Flynn and Lyla
However, Kam Panesar is convinced that all osteopathy is a safe, effective form of treatment. "Since April 2017, osteopaths have been one of the 12 types of healthcare providers commissioned by the Chief Allied Health Professionals Officer at NHS England," she says. "We have our own regulatory authority."
Stuart Korth, director and co-founder of the Osteopathic Center for Children, a charity in London, says it is essential that osteopaths have the skills and experience to diagnose problems and "know when not to treat".
"Not all babies will be suitable," says Stuart, who has been treating babies for 45 years and says that the interest in cranial osteopathy in children has grown "exponentially" at the time. "The baby can be upset for various reasons and it may be appropriate to refer to a doctor or specialist."
Cranial osteopathy is not suitable for conditions such as synostosis (fused skull, which can cause a baby to have a conical head) or increased pressure in the head.
However, Kerry was so impressed with the effect on Flynn that when her daughter Lyla was born two years ago, she went there again, this time to help her baby cry and flow back.
"After a few sessions, she started to sleep and the disease stopped," says Kerry.
But skull osteopathy does not work for everyone. Annabelle Devitt, 31, who works in the publication, tried it for her son Tadhg, five months after he was born in a traumatic ventouse delivery that left him with a painful band around his head.
He cried a lot, & says Annabelle, who lives in Gloucestershire with husband Oisin, 33, a gym manager.
"It was one of the obstetricians at the hospital who suggested cranial osteopathy as a way to relieve any pain. He was a rather freaky baby, not sleeping well and he had jaundice and a tie. As a new mother, you can't bear to think about your little one, so you'll try everything.
"It costs £ 60 for an hour. The practitioner asked me everything about the birth and his sleep patterns. I expected the treatment to be very practical, but she barely touched it. I could even breastfeed him during treatment, so he was nice and relaxed.
& # 39; The osteopath has treated him for only about 20 minutes. When she was done, she said she couldn't detect any problems with his head, just a little stiffness in his neck.
"Tadhg slept for over an hour and I was told that I could book a follow-up appointment if I felt that the first session had been favorable.
"Unfortunately it made no difference to him. His sleep is no better and he is still quite anxious. & # 39;
Sessions can cost as little as £ 30 at a time, and on Mumsnet many parents testify that they have spent hundreds of pounds on sessions that didn't relieve crying.
"It's just a good way to win money from desperate people," Yahtri wrote in a 2016 post. "Does cranial osteopathy work? & # 39; The short answer is: & # 39; No! & # 39;
Pippa Middleton and others will beg to differ.
Additional reporting: JILL FOSTER
The way you handle food can have an impact on your health. This week: Spinach
Spinach loves supermarket lighting. In fact, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin all increased after spinach had been stored under continuous light for a few days, according to a study by the US Agricultural Research Service in 2010. For the same reason, discard the external leaves of vegetables such as cabbage or iceberg lettuce. These are exposed to the most light, so they can contain up to five times more carotenes – antioxidants that help protect the body against diseases – than leaves in the middle.
Levels of vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin all increased after spinach had spent a few days in continuous light storage (stock image)
In the meantime, keep cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli in a vegetable rack. These cruciferous vegetables contain important carcinogens called glucosinolates – and a 2013 study by Rice University in Texas found that exposure to light, even after being harvested, raises its levels. The theory is that glucosinolates are part of the plant's defense against insects or heat, with light acting as a signal to release them.
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