Watching 4-year-old Victor giggling and playing with his mother, it's hard to believe that he hasn't always been a cheerful, playful child. He has come a long way since he was 18 months old and diagnosed with autism.
"He's a lot more engaged. He's a lot happier," says mom Stephanie who said Victor looked uncomfortable in his own body. That's when Victor's therapist recommended cranial sacral therapy.
"It just helps the body re-align the fascia and the nervous system," says Sara Lord, a licensed massage therapist. "Cranial sacral therapy works with the nervous system. It basically brings awareness to different parts of your body that may have deal with trauma. It's a light touch, about five grams of pressure approach, and it has profound results."
Sara starts at the feet and gradually works her way up to the head, hitting specific points.
"I focus on an area. I wait to fee a release in the tissue, and then I'll move on," she says.
Stephanie says Victor looked like a different child after his first session. "He was sitting in his car seat and looked like he did when he was a baby. He looked relaxed and peaceful. It was amazing to see."
It was after that, she heard him laugh for the first time. "The first time he had a really good session where she was really able to work on his head and get all of the points. He played with me for 12 minutes afterwards, which might sound minimal, but it was huge for us," says Stephanie.
Now, after a good session, she says she and Victor can play together for up to an hour.
Not all doctors believe in what Stephanie calls the magic of cranial sacral therapy, but as long as her child keeps progressing, she'll keep taking him for treatments.
"Anything that makes a child feel better, helps them learn better. It just made sense to me. If you get the head and neck in line, there would be better function in the brain, better energy flowing through his body, easier for him to function," Stephanie adds.
This little guy seems to be playing, and functioning, just fine.