Craniosacral Therapy for Infants with Meaghan Beames: Podcast Episode #240
May 30, 2024

Craniosacral Therapy for Infants with Meaghan Beames: Podcast Episode #240

Kristin Revere talks with Meaghan Beames of MyBaby Craniosacral Podcast and Beames CST Training Centre.  They discuss how craniosacral therapy can help babies cope with colic, latching issues, and growing pains that can make life with a newborn harder than it needs to be.       

Hello, hello!  This is Kristin Revere with Ask the Doulas, and I am thrilled to chat with Meaghan Beames today.  Meaghan founded the Beames CST Training Centre, offering tailored global learning for health professionals.  Her mission is to ensure every family in North America has access to qualified craniosacral therapists to help their babies cope with colic, latching issues, and all the growing pains that can make life with a newborn harder than it needs to be.  In five years, she’s treated 700-plus babies, taught more than 100 health professionals CST, and built a thriving private practice in Toronto with multiple practitioners working under her.  Her knowledge goes beyond just the practical applications of body work and spreads out into being a leader and growing a business.  Meaghan is also the host of the MyBaby Craniosacral Podcast with over 40 episodes and 5000 downloads.  Welcome!

Thank you so much!

So happy to have you here!  Our topic today is all about craniosacral therapy and how it can support the bonding and attachment between parents and infants after birth.

Yeah, thank you so much for having me.  This is, obviously, my favorite topic to talk about, craniosacral.  So I’m really looking forward to our chat today.

Would you please explain what craniosacral therapy is for our listeners who haven’t yet accessed this care or just aren’t familiar?

For sure!  So I realize, first off, that the name is long and hard to pronounce.  Some people say cranial sacral, so that it’s easier for them to wrap their mind around.  And a lot of times, people think, oh, cranial sacral, that must have something to do with the head and the sacrum.  But in fact, it actually has to do with the entire body.  So it is an extremely gentle, hands-on healing modality, kind of like massage, but it’s a lot more, let’s say, accurate and pinpointed to very specific areas.  And we treat fascia as opposed to muscles as one would in massage.  So craniosacral just helps to release tension in the body that could be causing this baby to have symptoms that are really troublesome, and the first thing that – well, not every parent, but the first thing that a lot of adults think when I say that there’s tension in a baby’s body is that, well, that’s not possible because this baby was born.  The assumption is that over time and over a period of years, we produce tightness and restrictions in our body that create pain, but that’s not true.  If you think of yourself getting injured really quickly – let’s say you were in a car accident, and it was not even a high speed, just kind of like a fender bender, and at that high speed, you get this neck jolt, right?  And you might feel that neck jolt for a while.  Right?  You  might feel it for months after, and that was a really quick thing.  And babies, when they’re in utero or when they’re being born, they can experience things that cause areas of their body to become tight, and they might feel pain within a couple of months or even a couple of hours after birth.  So this is what we’re doing is trying to release some of that tension that causes pain.

Yes, and as you mentioned, it’s very light touch.  So I know whether it’s chiropractic care or CST, some of our clients have questions about, again, doing any hands-on work with an infant.

For sure.  And that’s the thing.  The first question that parents think is, well, is this going to hurt my baby?  And, no.  If I have a parent who comes into my office who is apprehensive – they’ve been told, like, you really need to bring your baby in to see this person because she’s going to really help – they’re apprehensive because they’re worried it’s going to hurt them, but what I do is I demonstrate just how gentle the touch is on the parents’ hand, usually, and they’re like, oh, that’s it?  Are you even doing anything?  Because it’s so gentle that it does not hurt.  In fact, it often does the opposite.  It takes this baby who is experiencing pain, and they’re all scrunched up and their face is – their brow is furrowed, and then their arms relax, the shoulders come away from the ears, their face softens, and they’re in this peaceful sleep.  So it has the opposite effect.

Beautiful.  One of the common conditions that I will send doula clients to a craniosacral therapist is just feeding concerns where there might be a preference for one breast over the other, for example, and difficulty with latch.  So can we start with feeding as a reason to see a craniosacral therapist?

Yeah, that is probably our number one reason why folks bring their babies in to have this done for them.  When it comes to side preference – again, adults really have a hard time understanding that a baby can experience tightness or pain, right?  So they have this side preference because when they go into, let’s say, they prefer the left breast, let’s say.  That means that they like to turn their body to their right, if they prefer the left breast, right?  And if they don’t like going to the right breast, a lot of times it feels like a stretch in their body when they’re trying to bring themselves to the opposite side.  So it feels like their muscles are stretching and they’re going to bring themselves back into that side preference, or what I like to call it is a position of comfort, rather than a side preference, because a side preference has a negative connotation whereas a position of comfort is like, oh, they feel uncomfortable on the other side.  This is their comfortable side.  And so I want them to feel comfortable in all positions, and that’s what CST does is it helps to eliminate these restrictions in their body that’s keeping them from feeling comfortable no matter what position they’re in.

Excellent.  And it makes a big difference.  I’ve seen a change almost instantly with clients.  And then colic is another reason to see a CST.  Our postpartum doulas who are in the home day and night navigating reflux and colic would then also give referrals for that reason.  Can you explain the benefits for colicky babies?

Yeah, and again, colic is an overarching umbrella term for a baby who cries a lot.  So when somebody who comes into my office says, I think my baby has colic, my immediate thought is, what is causing this baby to experience pain?  Colic is not a diagnosis.  It’s just an umbrella term.  So when these babies are coming in, I want to feel through their body and a lot of times, they’ve got some tension between their should blades or in their low back that is causing them some pain.  So this tension can cause them to be gassy and grunt all the time.  It can cause them to have slow bowel movements, or they’re just straining to poop, so they’ve got really distended bellies or they’re just grunting all the time.

Yes, very grunty, right.

Right?  And then the parents can’t sleep at night because the baby’s grunting all night and they can’t pass gas.  Our job as a CST is to find the areas of the body that are tight that are causing these signs and symptoms, right?  We get a whole list of all of the other things that are going on.  When are they crying?  What does it sound like when they’re crying?  Are they pooping?  What’s it like when they’re pooping?  Are they feeding?  Are they swallowing a lot of air?  What’s happening in their mouth?  Do they have a distended belly?  Do they have an outie belly button?  Do they have a side preference?  So we almost go in and do diagnostic work.  I like to say it’s like a mechanic.  We tinker around and make sure the engine is working properly, just because – the other thing I like to say is that the body is supposed to work, and when it’s not working, there’s something going on that’s keeping it from its optimal working status.  So that’s what we like to do is find what’s keeping it from working optimally and make it feel better so that what is naturally supposed to happen, happens.

Yes, makes sense!  And then if our clients have experienced an elongated pushing time where it was hard for baby’s head to emerge or there were any traumas related to the birth itself, then certainly, we do refer.  Do you want to address whether it’s, like, say, vacuum or forceps or just a longer pushing phase, why it would be helpful to see a craniosacral therapist?

Yeah, and I’ll add to that, that actually very fast births – so let’s say the birth was an hour and a half, first contraction to born, or a really long birth – let’s say 24 hours-plus.  I find that I will see very similar signs and symptoms in these babies, and they both need CST just as much as the other.  Then, also, babies who have this beautiful – what I also like to say is rose petals in the bathtub birth where it’s like mama is saying ohm the whole time – they also need CST.  Being born, no matter what way, is difficult for this baby because they’re trying to get through a hole that is smaller than themselves and did not and had to get out a different way, or they did fit through a hole that is smaller than themselves.  So no matter what, it’s going to be traumatic, but this brings us back to that fascia that I was talking about at the very beginning.  The fascia is a protective tissue, and when we are either being pulled too much or pushed too much or too quickly – let’s say whiplash in a car crash – this fascia tightens and contracts to protect what’s underneath it, and that’s its job, and it’s doing a great job.  But then it doesn’t relax after like a muscle does.  So no matter what way this baby is being born, this fascia becomes tight, and it can cause things like a jaw that is moved off to one side, so an asymmetrical latch.  It can cause their cranial bones to shift out of normal range, so maybe they’re getting a flat head or maybe they’re getting a flat head on one side, or they’ve got a really long head.  And that has a lot to do with the fascia.  So we just help to loosen and let that fascia go so that things can settle into, let’s say, normal range, “normal range,” or optimal range.

It’s really, really cool.  And this also helps with restorative emotion.  They call it implicit emotions or memories, right, and with those implicit memories come emotions, and so being born is difficult, and we as humans, even you and I, both have stored memories and emotions from our own births that we can let go of using this CST because it’s stored in the fascia, those memories.  And so once we release that –

Yeah, our body does store so much!

Absolutely, and we have no idea how much that affects us day to day until we let go of it.  So that’s what CST is really useful for is to really help us as humans process the events that have happened in our lives, process them in a way that we don’t have to just hold on to them and keep them, especially if they’re not serving us.

Right.  And certainly with surgical births, there is still a need for CST.  It’s not just those quick or elongated pushing phases with a vaginal birth, but also babies born via Cesarean.

Correct, whether scheduled or emergency or even crash, those babies still spent time in this person’s pelvis, and they could have gotten – maybe they were breach, and I find actually that breach babies, they’ve got this one spot in their lower spine that causes them to have so much gas.  So much grunting.


I call it the breach spot, where we just release it and give the parents some massage and home care so that it doesn’t keep getting tight again to help the baby to poop and pass gas.  No matter what, this baby still spent time in a space that was too small for them, and that can cause the body – I like to give other visuals.  Let’s say you were sleeping on the couch, and your head was kind of twisted off to one side just a little bit for a little too long, and you wake up, and you’re like, oh, my neck hurts.  Let’s now put a baby in that position and then scrunch it up a little bit more with tissue and keep it there for a couple of weeks, and just imagine how much their neck might hurt if you move it off to one side.  A lot of the times, that’s why they want to keep their head turned to one side because it doesn’t feel good turning to the other way.   And I find that the babies who were born via C-section have this, and so I see them a lot in my practice.

Excellent.  I love the visuals.  I can totally picture what they’re going through.

Yeah, and if you see those videos of babies in an MRI, just how cramped they are.  It just makes sense.

It does.  And so when should parents be seeking care, and is there a point where it’s too late to really make a difference?

No, there’s never a too late, and there isn’t a too early.  So as you mentioned at the beginning, I do teach this, but I also practice it, and I can actually do CST on a baby in utero.  I can feel just by holding on the to mom’s belly – yeah, I can kind of move the baby around and just feel what’s happening in their body, and I can do a CST session with them.  I’m going to do one, actually, in about an hour.

I love it so much!

I believe she’s 38 weeks today, so I’m going to do a CST session on her today.  So there’s never too early.  I would like to say – and I know in your book, we are listed as people you need to plan for or health professionals you should plan for, honestly.  Even if your baby doesn’t have major symptoms, having someone do an assessment of your baby within days of birth can eliminate or prevent things like failure to thrive, losing weight, painful nipples or sore and cracked nipples, an extra trip to the hospital because your baby is just, like, scream-crying because they’re so hungry but they aren’t feeding well.  So just planning to have this baby have a nice, relaxing CST session within days of their birth will really help eliminate some of those really stressful periods that some parents go through.

And how do parents find craniosacral therapists, whether they’re trained by you – I know you mentioned that you’ve taught over 100 health professional CSTs – or trained by other reputable groups?

Yeah, so word of mouth is best.  Go with someone who – if you know someone who has seen someone, go with them.  Or you can look up CST through either Upledger or Beames, or there are some who will do CFT.  It’s very similar.  They have a different approach, CFT to CST.  So doing your research on what you feel as a parent you would prefer – again, they’re very similar, just a different type of mentality and approach to the care.  But I would just say, go with someone who – if you look up their website and you’re like, oh, I’d jive with them, or I can sense their vibe, and I think that I would feel the same way that they do – go with that, because this is – this is your baby, and you want someone who’s going to respect you and your baby and how you are parenting and how you would parent, because they’re also going to give you advice, maybe unsolicited, but hopefully not.  But they’re going to give you homecare and things that you can do to help things be better for your baby.  Again, you want to make sure that this person has similar values to you.

That makes sense.  So as far as payment, how many visits would be typical?  Of course, each infant is unique, but just on average, how many times would you see a family?  And then how would they pay for treatment?

So first, I’m going to say, for the babies who the parents at the very beginning are worried about their baby’s head shape, go see a CST practitioner as soon as possible.  Your baby’s head shape is probably out of alignment due to fascial restrictions that’s keeping them stuck in that position, and seeing a CST practitioner is going to help them to have more range of motion and get those bones to line up in a little bit better or more optimal position.  So for the babies who have head shape concerns, those ones we typically see 3 to 6 or 4 to 8 times over the course of, let’s say, six months.  For the first few sessions, it would be weekly for about a month, and then after that, it would be a little bit more maintenance.  So it could be anywhere from, again, 3 to 8 sessions for the ones who have head shape concerns.

The ones who have latching concerns, we usually see them about three sessions, but some babies where the parents are like, I just want to see how things are going – we usually just see them once.

And then prices range anywhere from $120 for an hour up to $215 for an hour.  Again, the person who is charging over $200, make sure they’ve been doing this a while.  If they’ve been doing it for, let’s say, five months, and they’re charging over $200, they haven’t learned enough.  To be very blatant and clear about this, they have not learned enough.  You might not see the best results just because you’re paying higher prices.  Higher price doesn’t always mean better service or better results.  So just make sure that if you are paying higher prices, perhaps they have a team approach.  Maybe they’ve been doing it for a long time.  Maybe they’ve had training from multiple different schools.  And check Google reviews.  Make sure you check the Google reviews because parents tell the truth there.  They really do.

They do, agreed.  And then you can obviously use like a health savings or flex spending, as well?

Well, I’m Canadian, so I don’t know what it’s like in the States.  But if your listeners are generally American, most CST practitioners have a license to touch or are IBCLCs, and so sometimes you can put it under or through insurance or a super bill.  I’ve heard of something like that.

Sure, that makes sense for the feeding-related concerns, if they’re seeing an IBCLC who’s also a CST.  Okay.  And then as far as other tips for our listeners that are interested in CST or think their baby may benefit from it, what do you have to offer, Meaghan?

I would say the sooner the better, but it’s never too late.  A lot of parents are like, well, what benefits am I going to really see?  I have no idea.  Why would I go?  I don’t know what I would – I don’t know what good this will do.  No, you’re absolutely right.  You won’t know until you go and see what can get better because the worst thing that can happen is nothing gets better.  But that almost never happens.  So know that there is something that we can help with, even if it’s just – we can get your baby to go into tummy time for longer.  Know that that is a benefit, a lifelong benefit, because that’s brain development.  That’s meeting milestones better and faster, and that is lifelong benefit.  So if you’re on the fence about it, the answer I would recommend, go just even once and see.  But bring food.  So make sure your baby is fed.  Always bring something to eat because they get so hungry in the session.  Bring milk.  Don’t worry about, oh, it’s their naptime or something like that.  Sometimes we can even get them to fall asleep in the session, so they can have their nap in the session.

You mentioned in your bio that you also work with growing pains?  Can you elaborate on that?

Yeah, for sure.  These babies who had a side preference for nursing generally then have a side preference for crawling.  And so they’re going to be those ones where it’s like, oh, let’s take a video.  This baby crawls so funny.  But it’s like, okay, but what does that mean about their body?  That means they have a position of comfort and a position of discomfort.  So what’s keeping this baby from feeling comfortable on all fours, and again, what I mentioned earlier is meeting milestones and brain development.  If they’re only crawling with one leg, that means they are dominant on one side of their brain and less dominant on the other.  And we need both sides of the brain to develop simultaneously in order for milestones such as reading.  Maybe sometimes dyslexia can happen if this baby doesn’t crawl properly.  Maybe sometimes even speech is difficult.  So making sure that this baby crawls with both legs.  Again, we can help them to feel comfortable on both legs.  And when it comes to speech, let’s say this baby turns into a toddler who doesn’t like solids.  That can later produce a child who has a speech impediment.  So it’s just something where if you see early signs, do something about it because they don’t just “grow out of it.”  They grow into it.  They compensate for what’s not working properly.

So the earlier you help, usually, the less struggles you have later.

It affects so many different areas beyond feeding and issues with colic or just unhappy babies.  Thank you for explaining all of the different benefits and conditions that CST can support.

Oh, the one that I really want to say is sinus congestion and ear infections.  Go see a CST.  A lot of times, it’s just that there’s poor drainage because of fascial tension, and the amount of times I’ve seen a toddler come in who’s had recurrent ear infections – I do a couple of releases in their ears and in their neck, and they never get an ear infection again after that.  That one is a big one.

Amazing!  That can be so stressful on families dealing with the constant ear infections.  And it could potentially even avoid tubes then later, correct?

Absolutely.  It avoids antibiotic use.  It avoids serious pain and screaming all night long, but also the antibiotic use affects gut, right?  And that can lead to poor gut, which can lead to allergies or sensitivities or leaky gut or all of these things.  It’s so much more than just making sure that this kid doesn’t have to have ear infections anymore.

So how can our listeners connect with you, whether they are a parent looking for help or a health care professional who is interested in training with you?  What are the different websites and social media channels that you would like to send our listeners to?

For sure!  For parents, I have MyBaby CST.  That is on Instagram.  That has a lot more educational information for parents.  That’s also the website,  And I’ve got my podcast on that one, as well.  Then also for health professionals who are wondering, maybe this is for me.  I would like to be able to do CST.  I have the school, which is Beames CST.  That’s also our Instagram handle.

Excellent!  Thank you so much, and we’ll have to have you on again, Meaghan!

Amazing!  Thank you, Kristin!


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