Meet Philip Owen, Paediatric Osteopath and Inventor of the SleepCurve Baby Mattress.
SleepCurve is the brainchild of Philip Owen D.O., B.Sc. (Hons), a leading Paediatric Cranial Osteopath who has spent 20 years studying and treating tension in babies’ skull bones. His pioneering research has significantly advanced our understanding of both babies’ and children’s sleep problems, arising from tension in the bones of the skull. Parents come from all over the country to his Manchester clinic and he is considered one of the leading practitioners in the UK. He lectures for the British School of Osteopathy Society and was the BSO’s leading external examiner.
Philip is married to Catherine and is a parent to two daughters and a grand-parent.
We interviewed Philip to find out more about SleepCurve and his passion for treating and curing Flat Head Syndrome.
Over the next week you will hear more from Philip…
Q1. It’s a GREAT idea, where did it all start?
My idea to design a surface or mattress for a baby to lie on started when my clinic received queries from numerous worried parents, complaining that their babies’ heads were misshapen when lying on a conventional flat mattress. All this came about shortly after the F.S.I.D. issued a safety directive that all babies must sleep on their back (face up position) to minimise the risk of ‘cot death’. Before babies were put on their backs to sleep, misshapen heads in babies (or flat head syndrome) was very rare. Now reports suggest that 40% of all babies develop head asymmetry.
Q2. Why are you so passionate about treating and preventing Flat Head Syndrome?
I developed a special interest in baby head shape firstly because for many years it appeared Flat Head Syndrome was simply not being recognised by the medical profession. There seemed to be a generalised lack of understanding as to why this condition developed, and detection was not until it had become quite advanced.
Parents of babies with head shape problems were extremely worried, naturally, and there seemed to be little understanding from their local primary care units.
As for the babies themselves, I could see that these babies would grow up with misshapen heads and be unable to have anything other than long hair to mask it as well as being teased at school. It is generally accepted that when a child starts to move around more and the hair grows longer the problem diminishes to a degree, but by no means fully.
Q3. How long have you spent researching Flat Head Syndrome and baby mattresses?
Once you understand the anatomy of a baby’s skull bones and that every baby has a bulge at the back of the skull (called an Occipital bone) it is easy to see that there is nowhere for this bulge to go unless the baby rotates the head to the side.
If a baby has a preferred side to which s/he constantly rotates, this will quickly cause a flattening. Therefore, knowing the solution (providing a space for this bulge) and hence prevention, was quickly obvious. It was the research to prove it that took the time, nearly 3 years. As you can imagine, large organisations such as hospitals have very large cog-wheels and things can move very slowly!