Osteopathy for Babies and Infants


Baby Osteopathy

In the following, I will provide a modern perspective on baby osteopathy using some examples. Asymmetry, skin problems, digestive issues, delayed child development, and excessive crying are often interconnected and have various causes.

In the context of an integrative approach, baby osteopathy is not just therapy but also an excellent diagnostic tool. It is often helpful to also examine the mother’s health using other naturopathic diagnostic methods such as kinesiology.

Baby osteopathy should always be in addition to the care provided by a midwife and examinations by a pediatrician.

Between the ages of one and three years, osteopathy can be difficult to perform due to toddlers’ shyness. If the young patient cannot be calmed and refuses treatment, it should not be forced.


Baby Osteopathy – Children, Infants


Baby Osteopathy – Birth

During the birth process, the skull bones are subjected to significant pressure, which can lead to the shifting and partial overlap of individual skull bones. Through the forces of self-regulation, these deformations will often resolve within a few days. This process is supported by sucking, which helps restore the functional position of the skull bones with the central nervous system.

The position of the skull bones in the first few years of a baby’s life is crucial for their development because the child’s growth also depends on the functional anatomy of the nervous system. Therefore, babies and infants are often treated with craniosacral osteopathy.

The skull bones of newborns are very soft and flexible. Even individual skull bones consist of several parts that fuse together over the years.

The transmission of beneficial microorganisms (biomes) or pathogenic microorganisms (infection) also plays a significant role at birth. In the naturopathic view, it is mainly about the balance of microorganisms. Pathogens cause metabolic disorders and inflammation, while beneficial microorganisms are essential for our digestion and immune system, responsible for optimal food conversion.

Symmetry in Babies and Infants

Often parents visit an osteopathic practice a few weeks after birth due to their child’s noticeable posture. The most common issues are preferred sides for head rotation, with one-sided shoulder elevation, head flattening, spine overextension, or the C-shape of the torso with head tilting and rotation to the concave side.

Contrary to popular belief, these issues are not the result of compression during birth but rather a compensation of the body posture according to its current needs.

The baby’s static posture is primarily determined by the demands and possibilities of early childhood development and systemic factors such as inflammatory processes due to infection or bacterial colonization, or environmental burdens.

Babies always adapt to external and internal influences. The most comfortable position and the optimal development are significant factors.

Since absolute symmetry does not practically exist in nature, babies also cannot be perfectly symmetrical! The founder of osteopathy, Dr. Still, considered the following sentence a guiding principle of osteopathy.

“Structure follows function.”

When he referred to the body’s function, Dr. Still was not just talking about walking, sitting, playing sports, or moving. He primarily focused on the vital functions of the organism, such as the heart, lungs, liver, and above all, the nervous system, as the main factor in the structural organization.

Whether a baby’s unusual posture is a sign of unfavorable development or a temporary compensation, such as during a viral illness, should be diagnostically clarified.

Breastfeeding and Osteopathy

The best nutrition for an infant is undoubtedly breast milk. It is not only about the optimal composition of nutrients, transmission of immune cells, and the mother-child bond.

The coordinated sucking movement of the upper and lower jaws stimulates the skull through the palate. This helps the baby quickly correct any displacements that occurred at birth. Stimulating the cerebrospinal fluid, which moves with pulsating energetic movements between the sacrum and skull as a “closed hydraulic system,” is crucial.

Shifts that the baby cannot resolve on its own are called blockages and can later manifest in feeding behavior. In case of a blockage, the rest of the body adjusts to it, meaning the body compensates to maintain all bodily functions as best as possible. Excessive asymmetry in babies and toddlers can anatomically manifest over time.

The Baby and Metabolism

Optimal nutrient supply for babies through breastfeeding is essential for their further development. Pregnancy and birth are signs of good health, vitality, and endless possibilities!

To prevent damage leading to severe disabilities in newborns, pregnant women are given certain supplements during gynecological care. The vitamin B-associated metabolism and the supply of minerals and essential trace elements are crucial. This is good.

However, in cases of maternal metabolic disorders, a standard nutrient supplement is not optimal. Deficiencies can result in developmental issues in newborns. Common problems include minor digestive issues in early childhood, which in severe cases can lead to so-called colic at three months.

In the context of an integrative approach, it is important to note that the vitamin B-associated metabolism and the supply of minerals and essential trace elements are central for optimal health. However, in cases of maternal metabolic disorders, a standard nutrient supplement may not be ideal. Deficiencies can lead to developmental issues in newborns, most commonly manifesting as minor digestive problems in early childhood that can escalate into severe cases of colic at three months.

Manifest disruptions in the vitamin B metabolism are characterized by significantly delayed development and poor weight gain in babies. Additionally, babies may have high muscle tone even at rest and clench their hands into fists during sleep.

The unity of the mother-child psyche is crucial for the baby’s emotional well-being, as it is closely linked to the mother’s feelings and environment. The first year of life, characterized by a symbiotic relationship, significantly influences the child’s emotional life and psyche in the future.

Therefore, it is important for parents to be aware that babies can pick up on excessive worries and fears, so creating a harmonious environment is essential for their digestion and immune system to function optimally. When babies cry, it is not necessarily a problem; rather, it is an opportunity for them to express themselves and release tension. Compassion, presence, and support are vital in helping babies find the cause of their discomfort.

In practice, it has been observed that babies with relaxed and trusting parents are more receptive to examinations and therapy, even with unfamiliar osteopaths.

Osteopathy for babies – The Diagnosis

During the initial appointment, the focus is primarily on systematically assessing the case and making a diagnosis. Based on the initial examination, it is determined whether osteopathic intervention is appropriate for the baby or if involving the mother through gentle natural remedies, vitamins, or dietary guidance is necessary.

Experience has shown that in approximately 50% of cases, parental concerns were unfounded, and therapy was not required.

The first step involves discussing the parents’ experiences with pregnancy, birth, and any noticeable baby issues. Additionally, the mother’s health, especially if she is breastfeeding, should be considered, as even minor complaints can be relevant for the nursing baby.

Subsequently, the baby undergoes an osteopathic examination. Factors such as the statics of the bony structures, including the spine and skull, muscle tone, tissue tension, organ sizes, and abdominal sensitivity, provide insights into the baby’s development and health.

Baby Osteopathy and Therapy

Osteopathy is a gentle therapy in which the therapist supports the mobility of the body structures with small movements. The techniques used are painless and risk-free for the baby.

Babies are often treated through the craniosacral system. Due to the central nervous system running there, as well as the rhythmically circulating cerebrospinal fluid (nerve fluid), the skull base axis is of particular importance.

The lymphatic system, vessels, and organs are also stimulated by gentle techniques, thus encouraging the organism to self-heal.

Contrary to many beliefs, it is not primarily about the “mechanical restoration of natural structure,” but about supporting the organism in its biological functions. This is primarily achieved through mobility.

Therefore, I recommend accompanying baby osteopathy with additional measures such as vitamin and herbal supplements, or following simple nutritional principles.


Author: Naturopath Alexander Spies


I would like to point out that the mention of the listed diseases naturally cannot promise a cure or guarantee relief or improvement of the listed medical conditions. The application areas of osteopathy are based on insights and experiences of the therapy directions themselves. There are very few relevant scientifically proven findings, meaning evidence-based studies, that clearly demonstrate the effectiveness or therapeutic efficacy of osteopathy in babies.

Some of the listed diseases require a medical investigation, or are treated in parallel with medical intervention in the naturopathic practice.

Your treating therapist will advise you on whether the treatment of your illness as the sole therapy of naturopathy, or in addition to medical intervention, is advisable, or if it requires immediate clarification by a specialist.




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