Baby suffering from hydrocephalus - baby sleeping - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy

Baby Suffering From Hydrocephalus Shows Improvement With Gillespie Approach

Dr. Barry Gillespie Writes

A couple, who had taken the Gillespie Approach Infant Training together, have been turning fussy babies into happy babies for many years. They love doing the work. They sent me an email saying that the parents of a newborn with hydrocephalus wanted to try their therapy first. “What do we do?” 

When you sign up for the infant work, babies with serious issues may appear. I spoke to them by phone for about 20 minutes. I said that we only focus on getting tight babies loose, and we let God take care of the rest. I had never met them before, but we had a nice grounded conversation. My thanks to the wife, who wrote this piece along with my comments.

Gillespie Approach Therapist Writes

Dr. Gillespie, thank you so much for your personal interest and care for our work with this little girl. When you advised us to treat her the same as any other baby, we breathed a sigh of relief. I had been so nervous with this intimidating medical label and all the unknowns it brought.

When you said to treat her the same, we were able to calm down, regain confidence that craniosacral fascial therapy is more than just helping fussy babies, and trust God to work through our hands. I had to let go of my fears and expectations and listen to what her body was saying.

Dr. Barry Gillespie Writes

That last paragraph is totally brilliant. Infant therapists please read that twice and put it on your fridge.

Gillespie Approach Therapist Writes

Background info: It was a normal pregnancy and normal 20-week ultrasound. Later, while working with the tall, slender mom, I felt tightness in her psoas and umbilical and asked her, on a hunch, whether she started showing late in her pregnancy. She said: “Yes, not much until about week 30.”

Mom said she had shooting nerve pain down a leg during this pregnancy for the first time—her fourth baby. Her water broke more than 12 hours before birth. It was a fast birth, clocking in at just more than an hour. The discharge doctor noticed the baby’s head had grown slightly since birth measurements. The baby was eating well and happy at this point, but an ultrasound reading showed fluid in different parts of her brain. It was described as “back of brain pushing on cerebellum.” The doctor from the famous medical clinic said to wait one month and do an MRI. When I talked to mom on the phone at 3½ weeks, her three major complaints were arching, upset tummy, and “big head.”

There was so much crying during the first two sessions:

  • First treatment: The sacrum wanted to turn to the right; the left lung worked hard, with little movement in the right lung area; and there were multiple arches and one sharp arch. The baby calmed down and slept in the parents’ arms. 
  • Second treatment: The baby was tight and red around the mouth, from the chin to the lips, and touching the neck triggered mild arches and one quick “get out of it” arch. The baby again calmed down and slept in the parents’ arms.

The Baby’s Parents Report After This Treatment

After we left Sunday, her fussiness was worse until evening. On Sunday night, she slept three hours straight; at most, it had been two hours before that. On Monday, she seemed “more calm” and “aware of self vs. closed in and concerned.” On Monday evening, she seemed fussy during feedings as if she had an upset stomach. She slept four hours, and mom had to wake her up to nurse. She seemed “back to when she was a newborn.” (At birth and until discharge, she was a happy baby. The doctor said she never showed typical symptoms of hydrocephalus. But after looking at the head and chest measurements, the doctor suggested an ultrasound, if the parents wanted one, because fluid was found in her brain. At three weeks, mom said the baby started “writhing.” We first saw her on day 30.)

After Sunday’s two treatments, mom said she was “stretching like crazy all the time, for full minutes.” “She sleeps more relaxed,” adding that, before, she couldn’t stop seeming anxious until completely asleep. It seemed to mom as if she was “‘smiling more.” According to mom’s measurements, the baby’s head measurement stayed the same as before on Sunday, and then she thinks it decreased by half a centimeter on Monday. Mom thought her baby’s facial skin tone looked more even. 

Dad had a concern that she seems to be almost between sleeping and awake. Her eyes are open, but she’s not fully awake. She is not lethargic and still able to be roused, but she is kind of in a “relaxed but out of it” mode. I noticed this while working with her Tuesday and didn’t know what to make of it. This happened quite a lot during the first two treatments. I didn’t notice it as much during the third treatment. 

Dr. Barry Gillespie Writes

My thought was that the brain was processing a dramatic shift of neurological function.

Gillespie Approach Therapist Writes

Tuesday’s treatments at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. blend together in my memory. I recall lots and lots of arching during the first two treatments. For some, mom held her baby facing her chest, and I held the baby’s head, and, when she started to go into an arch, I asked mom if she’s got her, and she said yes. So mom held her baby’s hips and supported her back, and I held the baby’s head and neck, and the baby arched deeply several times. Following are areas that released tension: sacrum (twisting and arching), umbilical, trachea (huge), maxillaries, sphenoid (huge arching again), tongue under jaw (much crying), temporal, nasal, diaphragm. The last session ended with rechecking all the former tight points and no produced reaction. When I held her off the table to check for arching, her arms even drooped to the sides, and she smiled.

It was so amazing to be able to show the parents how touching points on a sleeping baby would produce such a strong reaction. I kept going back and then took a break, and then went back and got a weaker reaction. Eventually, it was all released, and the baby no longer experienced any tension. After all the crying for the five sessions, to end with that was so beautiful. 

I did appreciate—and told the parents so—that they gave their baby daughter permission to cry. Dad even told her that “sometimes it feels good to yell” and that it was OK. It was visible that their baby’s crying affected these very connected parents, but I feel as if their encouragement to let their baby know that she was safe and doing a good job, and their holding that space for their baby to process these releases was huge!
On Wednesday, mom messaged that her daughter “sure is happy and calm this morning! Very fun to see how she is doing.”

At their next pediatric neurosurgical visit, mom explained the findings. “The MRI showed that the pressure is coming from a large arachnoid cyst in the back of her brain that is pushing everything else up and forward. The surgeon said that it’s not life threatening and that he doesn’t think that it’s causing further damage so far. He said he wants to wait until she’s older to do surgery, but we need to monitor her closely.

“In the next month, we will measure her head weekly, meet with a pediatric eye doctor to make sure the cyst is not putting pressure on her optic nerves, and then we will go back for another MRI in a month to see where we are at.”

Dr. Barry Gillespie Writes

The Gillespie Approach can be a possible add-on therapy to this neurological treatment plan, if the parents agree. I am fine if the parents want to discuss our therapy with the doctor first. Since I never tell anyone what to do, the parents would make the final call to choose to continue with the Gillespie Approach.

If the parents do want to continue, I would work with the infant until she was strain-free. I would also check her brain cycle. Everyone is hoping for the best, but, at this point, no one knows for sure the final outcome. 

If the surgery is necessary, I would wait for the area to heal and have the parents ask the surgeon when it is safe to do our therapy. Keeping the baby safe is our biggest concern.

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Gillespie Approach Foundation Training is designed for students to work with children and adults.

  • February 1–3 | Austin, TX
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Gillespie Approach Infant Training is designed for students to work with infants.

  • February 4–6 | Austin, TX
  • March 17–19 | Gilbert, AZ
  • April 14–16 | Melbourne, FL
  • June 9–11 | Colorado Springs, CO
  • July 21–23 | Bozeman, MT
  • September 8–10 | Surrey, UK
  • October 20–22 | New Hampshire
  • November 17–19 | Greenville, SC

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