Jaundice is a common health condition experienced by nearly 80% of premature and 60% of full-term infants within their first week of life. Parents recognize their baby has jaundice if the baby’s skin or the whites of their eyes seem yellowish. While this can prompt a high level of concern, in most cases it’s an indication that your child is adjusting to their new world, life outside the uterus. Jaundice in newborns is usually mild and a temporary condition, though it can be a symptom of a more serious illness, especially in older children.
When inside the uterus to meet their oxygen needs babies need extra red blood cells. These extra red blood cells break down after birth releasing a waste product called bilirubin. The liver filters bilirubin waste product from the blood through the biliary system and the newborn excretes it in their stool. However, since a newborn’s liver requires several days, in some cases weeks, and longer with preemies, before it functions fully – it can be difficult for babies to process and excrete the bilirubin collected since birth.
Bilirubin at low levels is not problematic, but extended out high levels may cause neurological issues if left untreated. Babies with bilirubin concerns such as a possibly dysfunctioning biliary system generally show signs of jaundice by 3 to 6 weeks from birth. Babies with a possible biliary system issue may also have gray, pale yellow or white stools, with the color change due to bilirubin waste not reaching the intestines and excreted out of the body in the stool. Thus for this reason, it’s wise to carefully monitor babies with jaundice. Jaundice in an older child usually indicates one or both of two things: 1) obstruction of their bile ducts, thin tubes that extend from the liver to the small intestine; 2) a health condition within the liver preventing from processing the bilirubin properly.
Why Choose Chiropractic Care & Craniosacral Therapy for Jaundice Baby Treatment?
There is research documenting the care of a newborn with jaundice and breastfeeding difficulties. This particular newborn had difficulty rotating his neck and head as well as opening his mouth and ‘latching on’ due to mandibular sway (irregular muscle & ligament movement of the lower jaw).
The newborn received;
soft-tissue manipulation to the lower jaw or temporomandibular joints (TMJ)
spinal manipulative therapy to the upper cervical spine.
Following the initial visit and treatment, the baby was able to properly suckle from his mother’s breast due to correction of movement of the mandible (lower jaw) and ability to perform neck rotation to his mother’s breast. The research documented the effectiveness of these 4 treatments as the probable cause in resolving cervical spine and cranial dysfunctions, TMJ, and jaundice; resolving the jaundice by reinvigorating the liver’s ability to process bilirubin. Source: Research Article
I also practice Craniosacral Therapy with newborns, a type of gentle massage that reduces tension and compression within the cranial bones of a baby’s head, and their sacrum bone in their lower back. Craniosacral Therapy with infants uses gentle finger-pressure massage (similar to depressing an avocado checking for ripeness) to manipulate these cranial bones and surrounding tissues. This has been proven to boost the circulation and flow of cerebrospinal fluid, remove blockages and stimulate nerves. Boosting cerebrospinal fluid circulation helps regulate and normalize a newborn’s central nervous system, thereby enhancing their body’s ability to self-heal. Parents can hold their baby on their lap or have the infant lay on a table during treatment. Many parents have recognized their babies experience deep relaxation, often to the point of falling asleep after treatment while others have described infants having a burst of energy afterwards. Research has shown and supports using craniosacral therapy in preterm infants as safe.
The effectiveness of chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy in treating jaundice in newborns is rooted in how they are gentle massages applied with precision to specific musculoskeletal and central nervous system points on an infant. Combined they present a powerful treatment to enable an infant’s body to achieve optimal organ function and natural self-healing.
This is confirmed by other research that also concluded in severe cases of babies with jaundice, gentle massage can both help prevent hospitalization and in extreme instances reduce the length of hospitalization.
Even more research has shown gentle infant massage can produce an increase in the frequency of a newborn defecating and in the process help decrease bilirubin levels.
Whether a baby’s symptoms include digestive disorders, GERD, acid reflux, or jaundice, gentle chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy can benefit every organ and body system, particularly the biliary system of a newborn.
How Chiropractic Care & Craniosacral Therapy Help a Jaundice Baby
A baby’s biliary system includes a baby’s liver, gallbladder and small intestine, tethered via bile ducts, and located in the upper right quadrant of their abdomen. It begins in the liver at the top where small branching bile ducts within the liver gather bile as it’s produced by the liver. The small branching bile ducts unite forming 2 larger branches (a left and a right) called hepatic ducts. These 2 hepatic duct branches join outside the baby’s liver to form a single hepatic duct.
Your baby’s hepatic duct connects to their gallbladder through the cystic duct, forming the main trunk of the biliary system, the common bile duct. About half the bile from a baby’s liver flows into the common bile duct, the other half to the baby’s gallbladder (held until it’s signaled by the small intestine it needs it to digest fats and proteins).
Inflammatory conditions such as acute infections can create swelling, narrowing of passageways and bile duct issues, stalling bile flow through the biliary system and its ducts. Chronic inflammation within bile ducts over a long term can create scarring of the tissues within the ducts, narrowing passageways and jeopardizing the basic functioning of the biliary system ducts.
In treating babies coping with jaundice, infant massage techniques are focused on:
reducing any inflammation within the digestive system and therefore baby’s biliary system
improving the functioning of the baby’s digestive system thereby fortifying baby’s duct function of their biliary system
Treatment centers on massaging around an infant’s vagus nerve, one of the most complex nerves in the human body controlling and regulating important functions such as breathing, respiration, digestion, and more including the functioning of the liver. Craniosacral therapy directly treats the cranial nerves (the vagus nerve being cranial nerve #10) You can read a comprehensive overview of the Vagus Nerve Treatment I provide patients by clicking here.
What I ask parents to understand is vagus nerve signaling to the liver regulates the liver’s metabolic functioning. In fact research has shown impaired vagus function suppresses bile synthesis and this study provides a comprehensive analysis of the critical role of the vagus nerve in regulating bile metabolism and signaling pathway – which is precisely what we’re trying to improve with your newborn to resolve their jaundice.
The objective is to enable your baby’s body to heal itself naturally and without your baby enduring surgery such as a Kasai procedure or the ingestion of any meds. Precisely targeted gentle cranial massage stimulates pressure receptors under the skin and this in turn stimulates the vagus nerve. This is the key to achieving optimal results as research has proven the vagus nerve innervates (communicates & triggers) the liver to function optimally and is closely associated with the healthy functioning of the bile ducts – Hepatic Nervous System and Neurobiology of the Liver (Source). Again, this is exactly what we’re trying to achieve resolving your baby’s jaundice.
While I don’t want to overwhelm any parent with research, it’s important that you know and see that the care and treatment your child will receive is well studied, rooted in science, aligns precisely with your child’s spinal ailment, and is shown to be effective. As every newborn’s circumstances are unique, if you’re concerned about your child, call me – let’s have a conversation and I’ll be happy to share with you more insights on how to resolve jaundice naturally.
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 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.