The Classical Osteopathic Treatment of the Sick Infant from classicalosteopathy on Vimeo.

The following is a short, edited film demonstrating basic and key techniques used in Classical Osteopathy in the treatment of sick and immune-compromised infants.

The severity of the condition may require urgent palliative treatment in the attempt to control potentially life-threatening symptoms. At the same time there is often the need to attend to the severely dysfunctional body mechanics and delayed physiological development.

In an attempt to integrate both aims, the treatment protocol used is one known as the ‘total body adjustment’. Its aim is to both modulate the neuro-endocrine-immune systems as well as to simultaneously improve any biomechanical dysfunction.

It is hoped, furthermore, that the intense mechano-tranduction effects produced by such treatment may also positively effect genetic expression.

This integrative and correlative approach cannot be undertaken, however, during an acute infection or constitutional crisis. In this case the pressing and potentially life-threatening symptoms must be palliated by way of very short and repeated osteopathic intervention of a much more local nature.

In the case of infection or auto immune dysfunction, the treatment would be directed to specifically enabling, for example, an effective immune response, causing a rapid rise in immunoglobulin levels and an increase in anti-inflammatory markers.

In addition, an attempt would also be made to detect the presence of any somatic component that may contribute to exacerbated somato-visceral reflexes related to the disease or patho-physiology. Procedures designed to correct or modify such somatic dysfunction and concurrent aberrant reflexes would be attempted. Both aims are illustrated in the following video.

The child in question in this film is a boy of 1 year and 8 months who was born by way of an urgent caesarian operation at 34 weeks because of a breech presentation and maternal haemorrhaging.

While his weight was normal at birth, no increase in head circumference size was noted during the weeks following birth, remaining at 31.5 cm diameter.

In addition, within a few weeks after birth he developed severe gastro-oesophageal reflux, approximately 4-6 times per day and weight gain was very retarded as a result. This symptom continued unabated till some 1 month ago when it almost remitted following his 3rd osteopathic treatment.

The child also suffered an umbilical hernia soon after birth and underwent operative repair.

Examination of the infant within the first few weeks of life strongly suggested that the child suffers a rare genetic condition known as Kabuki syndrome.

The signs and symptoms include recurrent urinary tract infections, delayed and impaired mental development, reduced distance between the temporal bones, widened orbits, mild lop ears, short neck, repeated sucking movements, intermittent eye contact and severe dystonic movements of the limbs together with severe muscular hypo-tonicity together with skeletal abnormalities and joint laxity. Many of the above listed signs can be observed on viewing this film.

In the past few months the child has also developed atopic dermatitis and has been hospitalized of late suffering recurrent asthma and pulmonary infections.

The treatment begins with the child seated on the operator’s lap, his uncontrolled floppy head secured by the operator’s chin. The operator spreads his hands around the whole thoracic cage and reaches the sternum just superior to the underlying thymus gland.

A rhythmic, intermittent pressure-release manoeuvre is introduced, its depth determined by the underlying tissue resistance, both beneath the sternum as well as around the rib cage and finally focusing over the spleen and liver. Its purpose is to maximize venous and lymphatic drainage from the pulmonary field as well as simultaneously mobilise pulmonary macrophages, thymus antibody production and raise the body’s white blood cell count.

The treatment continues with a powerful but gentle hanging traction articulation to the thoracic and lumbar spine to attempt to overbear the rigidly kyphotic and almost embryonic state of the spine.

With the child prone across the operator’s lap, emphasis is brought to bear on establishing rhythmic and coordinated segmental articulation and the development of a flexible lumbar curve. Arm and leg leverages are constantly employed in order to engage all the soft tissue attachments and to bring about free and rhythmic conjoint activity between arthrodial and soft tissues.

The slow, rhythmic, oscillatory articulations have a strongly sedative effect producing a reduction in the spasmodic dystonia, presumably via its effect on the extra-pyramidal brain centres.

A similar effect is attained at a later stage of the treatment demonstrated when classical cranial techniques are applied to release all the scalp attachments to affect deep and superficial vascular exchange. In addition, carefully applied springing of the cranial bones is directed to affect csf passage and it is speculated may affect dopamine production to produce the reduction of dystonia noted during and following treatment.

A final manoeuvre applied with the infant prone on the treatment table involves deep, rhythmic, intermittent inhibitory pressure applied along the length of the sympathetic chain ganglia bilaterally form T2 to L2. It too often has a deeply sedative effect on the dystonic spasms.