Hi. I’m Dr. Barry Gillespie. I practice in the King of Prussia Medical Center in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, in the United States of America. Today I’m going to discuss infant health conditions.
What the Craniosacral Fascial System Is and How It Helps Improve and Heal Health Conditions with Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy
The craniosacral fascial system is a system I discovered about 20 years ago. It involves two components. It involves the craniosacral aspect, with the brain needing to slowly expand and slowly contract, and this expansion and contraction is called the “breathing” brain. The brain has to breathe. What we do is we’ll time the expansion and contraction in seconds. Usually, for infants, we’d like to see the infant loose enough where the brain is expanding at least 50 seconds and contracting 50 seconds, so the brain cycle would be 100 seconds.
As we found as the baby got better, the cycle might go to 150 or 200 seconds, where the brain is very slow, it’s very relaxed, it’s very calm, and it’s expanding 100 seconds, and it’s just really relaxed and it slows down and then it contracts about 100 seconds. So we found out that when the baby’s got up to close to 200 seconds that that was a pretty good marker where they were pretty happy and a lot of their health conditions went away.
Ideally, the child we would like to have the brain cycle may be 150 or possibly 200 seconds, where the brain is slowly expanding 100 seconds. It’s opening up really wide, and it’s very relaxed and very calm, and then it’s contracting another 100 seconds. So this whole brain cycle would be 200 seconds. The sacrum will move correspondingly with it, in sync, where it’d be slowly moving in flexion and extension. This is the craniosacral aspect of this particular system.
The other part of the system is the fascial web. The fascial web is a connective tissue web that’s from head to toe, finger to finger. The connective tissue surrounds every muscle cell. It goes into every organ, it goes into every bone, it goes into the eyes, into the teeth, it surrounds the blood vessels, it surrounds the nerves, where it can cause pain if there’s a lot of pressure there and so people have pain in their head or neck or whatever. The fascia gets very tight. It can pull about 2,000 pounds per square inch. So there’s a lot of pressure in your body, and you just might feel that you’re tight or your child may be tight.
This tightness can cause some issues. What we found is that this craniosacral fascial system is tight. People don’t function that well, and basically what therapy does gradually over a series of visits is to free up the system to help the body loosen this craniosacral fascial system because you’re too tight. Basically, we see tight people, they have a lot of problems that nobody else can really put their finger on, and because their body starts to loosen up, their body can heal better, and a lot of the issues that they’re dealing with can correct.
Birth Trauma Can Affect the Craniosacral Fascial System in Several Ways, Leading to Infant Health Conditions
Birth trauma can really affect this craniosacral fascial system. It can do in three different components. The first would be during delivery. If it’s a delivery with forceps, where forceps are clasped on the head, and there’s a lot of twisting pressure or rotation. Or if there’s vacuum suction, where the vacuum suction is on the head, creating a lot of strain in the head. A difficult delivery could involve shoulder dystocia, where your shoulder is caught right below your mom’s pubic bone, and it’s stuck in there and can’t get out. So the delivery can have a great effect on the craniosacral facial system.
Also, a difficult long labor can have a tremendous effect where you’re in position. You may be in position for hours—16, 18, 20, 30, 40 hours. I mean, in our research with newborns, the longest labor we dealt with was an infant who had 71 hours of labor. There was a lot of pressure in his body.
The third part of birth trauma could possibly be in utero, and, originally, when we did our research, we thought in utero was a nice place to be, but, unfortunately, if there are fibroid tumors, if there is a lot of pressure in there, if you’re in there with another baby, if they’re twins, multiple birth … . There are many other situations where the pressure can create craniosacral fascial strain in you, the fetus.
Birth Trauma Can Cause Infant Health Conditions Such As Reflux, Indigestion and Constipation
Birth trauma can cause many health conditions, it could cause a nursing issue where there’s difficulty latching on, difficulty sucking, and difficulty swallowing. It can cause colic, and it can cause a reflux, indigestion, constipation. It can also cause strabismus, stridor, pyloric stenosis, clubfoot and torticollis. Those are our major health conditions.
Baby Brain Score Is Developed to Test Newborn’s Health in Ways Never Before Imagined to Help Eliminate Infant Health Conditions As Soon As Possible
The Baby Brain Score was started in 2006. I became interested in working on infants, and I started doing some research around it and I looked at the Apgar score that’s given to every baby born in every hospital in the world. That’s a score to determine how well the vital functions are in that baby when the baby’s first born. Is the heart beating well? Do the lungs breathe? It gets you into the world alive. I looked at that score, and I said: “It really doesn’t take too much. It doesn’t really address any issues of the brain. How well is the brain working? It doesn’t tell us the possible quality-of-life issues that may have down the road.”
So I thought, “Well, maybe we should have a Baby Brain Score.” I came up with a very similar component Siddappa Apgar found with the Apgar score. We have four different components where we’re looking at the brain motion, how well is the brain breathing, how well is the sacrum moving, how symmetrical is the head. If the umbilical cord was an issue, was it wrapped around the body? We assigned each of those components a 2 if everything was great, a 1 if there was some problem there, and zero if there was a huge red flag. We created a score, the Baby Brain Score, very similar to the Apgar score.
We researched this for two years. There were a number of people, Kristen Myers, Michael Myers, Christine Holefelder and a few other people. We investigated the Baby Brain Score; we field-tested it. We spent about two years on it, getting it perfected to the exact way we want it. Then we went to Mexico to teach a number of medical professionals there, and we tested the Baby Brain Score internationally in a different culture, a different language, and it worked beautifully. So we’re very happy with it.
What it is? It’s just a tool to tell us right at the birth, right when you’re a few minutes old if there is a possible problem with how the brain is functioning.
This research was done during the time we were doing the Baby Brain Score. We were seeing dozens of babies, and we started testing the score, but the score doesn’t really give you any treatment. It doesn’t get you any better. So we continued with treatment with that, and we found out that the babies started getting better with their colic and their reflux, and they could breastfeed better, and a lot of good things were happening. So what we did was we set aside one day a week where we worked with infants, usually less than six weeks old. We worked on about 100 different infants.
We found that everything was opening up, the babies were getting better, the mothers were being pleased. We’re very pleased with the therapy. So Kristen Myers, Michael Myers and myself decided to do a research project. The bottom line is we saw 332 babies over a number of years, and they did very well with the health conditions that I mentioned. We found out that those health conditions are due to tightness—the craniosacral fascial system is tight. When we started to loosen this system up, the babies’ bodies work better. They were very fussy to begin with, they were very cranky, they were crying. At the end, we found out that the babies were pretty happy. The mothers would come in and say, “I have a happy baby.” The colic is gone, the reflux is gone, my baby is very calm, my baby’s very content.
So I was working with Michael Myers one day, and we said: “Well, we are the Happy Baby People. That’s who we are. We’re in the happy-baby business.” Mothers come to us with fussy babies, colic, reflux and this, that and the other thing, and indigestion and constipation, and they leave and they’re pretty happy. Well, they’re basically tight, and we help loosen them up, and that’s what we do. We’re not involved with viruses or bacteria or anything of that nature. We see tight babies, and those are the babies that seem to be unhappy.
How Dr. Barry Gillespie and Other Gillespie Approach Practitioners Conduct Craniosacral Fascial Therapy on Babies to Help Eliminate Infant Health Conditions
What we do is we will hold the baby. If I’m working on a baby or if one or two people are working on a baby, we’ll hold the baby, and the baby usually knows what it wants to do. It may stretch a little bit, and they start stretching. We just follow the stretch. The stretch starts to go, and we just follow. We’re just following the body. We’re supporting the body, but we’re not fixing the body, and we’re not manipulating the body. We’re not adjusting the body, and we’re not trying to cure a baby of anything. We’re just realizing that we’re just trying to loosen the baby up. We’re trying to help the baby free up its tightness.
The baby had nine months of a difficult situation, and it’s come out, and it’s a little bit tight. We feel that if you’re tight in your throat, you may have reflux. If you are tight in your eye, you may have strabismus. If you’re tight in your hips, you may have low-back pain. If you’re tight in your abdominal cavity, you may have colic. If you’re tight in your GI tract, from the diaphragm up into the throat, you may have reflux. So, basically, in our research we believe that these health conditions are diseases of tightness, and by loosening babies up, they, gradually, over series of visits, go away.
We’ve done research with over 800 babies in Mexico, America and Canada. I have students in South America and Europe and Africa, and they’re seeing the same thing, the same results. It seems like it’s universal. If there’s trauma or strain somewhere in the birthing situation, the baby can be fussy no matter where they are on the planet. So we believe that this type of therapy can be effective for babies everywhere.