Helping Children in New York City with Coronavirus / COVID-19 Stress & Anxiety

The coronavirus has changed daily life dramatically for children throughout New York City. Because of the coronavirus and how our daily lives have been disrupted, it’s commonplace to feel a sense of being on the edge.   The uncertainty of what tomorrow may bring coupled with the nonstop news coverage of the virus only adds to the anxiety we feel.   Also be mindful children are intuitive and perceptive and if the adults in their lives feel anxious due to this pandemic – children pick up on this anxiety  and feel it too. 

With children who are feeling worried, learning how to deal with that anxiety in a healthy way can help the child and the entire family be more resilient in managing through this pandemic.  Anxiety commonly surfaces in tandem with ADHD and other learning differences. Some kids also struggle with managing emotions. That can make it harder for them to think logically about how to cope with situations that make them anxious.

If you are a parent with young children, it is important to consider the impact of all that’s unfolded in response to the pandemic. It’s natural to feel anxiety mindful of the crisis we have all been part of and when it gets overwhelming, we’re less able to rise to a challenge, and sometimes we get stuck.   It’s important for parents to be mindful that in a child, anxiety could look like:

  • Reassurance-seeking (Are we going to be okay? Is grandpa going to be okay?)
  • Reluctance to separate from parents
  • Physical symptoms like headaches or stomach aches
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Tantrums or meltdowns
  • Trouble sleeping

When the body experiences anxiety the body can then the exhibit restricted breathing, headaches, muscle tension,  digestive problems, skin rashes, or other aches and pains.  This compromises and threatens a primary goal of parenting which is to raise children into capable adults who are able to successfully use their gifts, contribute to society, and raise a family of their own.   Hence for a child to grow into a healthy and fit adult it requires that he or she have the experience of successfully and effectively managing with adversity, including the current pandemic.    Craniosacral Therapy can help children cope with anxiety, manage their own nervous system,  and give them a sense of control even during an uncertain time.  

In fact simply intentionally slowing down your breath, and feeling your feet on the ground, can go a long way towards calming the nervous system (and the symptoms of anxiety).  Generally anxiety in children needs to be addressed from the body up, and one of the quickest ways to change the biochemistry of anxiety in our bodies is with craniosacral therapy. 

CranioSacral Therapy is a light-touch manual therapeutic treatment shown to be effective in supporting the central nervous system so that a child’s body can self-correct, if need be heal, and function naturally optimally. As the central nervous system is the control center of the body it influences all other body systems and functions. That’s why problems here can cause a wide range of sensory, motor or neurological conditions including anxiety.  The ultimate goal of  craniosacral therapy is for the release of energy or blockages in the nervous system by hands-on manipulation similar to gentle massage.

The world can be a frightening and stressful place for teens and children.   In the U.S. we now have a generation born under the reality of 9/11 (international terrorism) and educated under the threat of near-constant school shootings – now facing another trauma: the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic that has upended their lives.  From global threats like climate change to personal pressures related to family, academics, relationships, and more, today’s young people are growing up surrounded by sources of stress. 

With the threat of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic now added to the pile, what can parents do to help kids cope with COVID-19, school closings, event cancellations, and the climate of fear that has swept over the U.S.?  Parents should stay mindful that how teens and children respond to stress can range from them being passive and withdrawn to acting angry, irritable, and agitated.   Young people may respond to stress in different ways such as:

  • Acting clingy, anxious, and even  bedwetting
  • Changing sleep or eating patterns
  • Experiencing difficulty sleeping or concentrating

For a balanced understanding, stress is a normal, healthy biological response to perceived threats and challenges.   Stress is a response that gets us ready to act — to protect ourselves and our loved ones.  Our human brains have an amazing capacity for vigilance and self-protection. The amygdala—the brain structure responsible for the flight, flight, or freeze response to stress—is always on alert for dangers in our environment.  With frequent and continuous triggering, the body and its organs are placed under pressure – and this produces the phenomenon of stress.  So while this natural hyper-vigilance efficiently mobilizes a human’s response to illness or other perceived threats, our brain’s tendency to catastrophize can sometimes be immobilizing.    

It’s not necessarily “stress” that’s the problem, it’s  how we deal with it.  Stress becomes a negative, destructive factor in life when it exceeds our ability to adapt to it.  The problem is our body’s physiological response to this type of stress includes increased heart rate and pulse, heightened muscle tension and preparedness, rapid breathing, and an increase in cortisol production. Repeated exposure to this type of stress continually over the course of our lives has a chronic effect and can lead to the breakdown and sub-par performance of various internal organs, resulting in everything from heart disease, diabetes, and dementia to depression, anxiety, gastrointestinal problems, and a compromised immune system.

Simply put, recurring or continuous stress that a child’s body is unable to deal with affects the young person physiologically, structurally and emotionally.   Eventually the young person reaches a point of constant alertness, which depletes the body, and downgrades its ability to balance itself.   Once stress is stored in the body it can  lie dormant, and later triggered again by a sound, a word, or even the tone of someone’s voice.  Unconsciously our body remembers and reacts to the new stimulus in the same way it did to the first event, even though this reaction may be out of proportion to what has just happened.   Reacting automatically to the past, as opposed to responding correctly to the present can keep us trapped in a pattern that forces us to re-live the original stressor repeatedly in a variety of forms.  

Thankfully, craniosacral therapy is effective in calming this stress response when it’s not helping us — and allows the body to re-source its powers of rehabilitation and revival.  CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a manual therapy wherein with light touch the function of the craniosacral system is enhanced—the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. Through gentle cranial manipulations, CST boosts the body’s natural healing processes to improve operation of the central nervous system, dissipate effects of stress, and enhance overall health and well-being.   If you would like to have a more comprehensive conversation about your child and concerns over any stress or Anxiety they may be experiencing with the COVID-91 please call me.  

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Having a Chiropractic background since the year 2000, Dr. Kaminsky offers many methods of treatment with an emphasis on Craniosacral Therapy and Pranic Healing in NYC.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a method focusing on the link between the cranium (head) and sacrum (the second to last bone at the base of your spine), scientifically proven to work in unison to pump fluid throughout the body, an unknown disruption of which can cause many health issues.  The craniosacral mechanism pumps vital fluid called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) through the body and in a sense energetically lubricates the joints, tissues, organs; basically all cells of the body. It is the driving force of all your body’s systems of function; including maintaining the tone of your muscles.

The Central Nervous System (brain and spinal cord) are surrounded with CSF generating energetic rhythmic impulses of fluid delicately pumping throughout your body’s parts “breathing” the movement of life. This measurable rhythm of moving fluid, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rhythm is the foundational “blueprint” and primary principle of our real-time state of our health. 

Compromises of our rhythmic movements of fluid flow correlates to the impulse restrictions in the system which the body is unable to overcome or self-correct. This is the reason why we have “dis-ease”, symptoms, conditions, basically all ailments.  This is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable.  By placing his or her hands on your body the practitioner can feel, detect, evaluate, and facilitate correction of these restrictive arrhythmic impulses.

The craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm restore and renew in compromised areas allowing for healing to take place of sensory, motor, musculoskeletal, neurological disorders, symptoms, conditions and pain.  To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your healing treatment with Dr. Kaminsky.