2020 ArticlesGillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy Articles

Preventing Torticollis and Plagiocephaly at Birth

A mom emails, “The difference in my four-month-old daughter just from yesterday’s first session is actually remarkable. For the first time ever, she grabbed her feet and got them to her mouth. She couldn’t raise them past hip height before that visit. She was able to sleep to her left side, all night. She turned her head to the left without having to rotate her head up today. I’m amazed at how fast therapy started to change her tightness.”


Even though I have witnessed some remarkable healings in forty plus years, I have to constantly remind myself that first-time parents sitting across from me with their precious baby may not be as sold on the work. As a teaching moment for Gillespie Approach baby providers, parents have to see what it is, see that it is safe, and see that it works.

So during that first hour visit, I always do at least thirty minutes of therapy after my evaluation. I also like to first do some CFT on mom’s neck, so she feels what her baby will feel in therapy. She needs to feel the fascia straining and more importantly as the key to the Gillespie Approach, feel the tissue releasing. Even if her baby cries in therapy, she knows nothing bad is happening to him or her.

Parents have a chance to see what therapy looks like and see that it is baby-safe. Even if they leave the office without making a second appointment, they can go home and see if therapy works.

The nice thing about tort babies is that they are so tight and twisted, the parents usually see some nice changes after the first visit. Since every baby reacts differently with their unique soft tissue birth trauma, no one can predict what conditions will get better on the first visit and what conditions will not get better.

My overriding agenda is that these tort babies, along with every other baby, must be identified with fascial strain minutes after birth. The attending provider need not diagnose torticollis, plagiocephaly, or any other scary-sounding condition at that time, but just help the neonate work out the fascial strain from birth trauma over as many sessions as needed.

I feel that telling parents minutes after birth that their beautiful new baby has any frightening, fear-based condition(s), which will probably be resolved in Gillespie Approach therapy, is inappropriate. As a natural and wondrous event, birth is a time of celebration and joy for everyone, end of story.

In my mind the parents just need to be told before the birth that most babies are born with some soft tissue tightness. As a standard of care hospital procedure, a specially trained therapist will do some gentle massage during the hospital stay to help loosen and relax your baby—a truthful explanation describing an innocuous procedure.

The parents can then leave the hospital on the second day with a calm baby who can breathe well, nurse well, digest well, poop well, and nap well. They will never even know what challenges they would have had to face with their untreated newborn. That is the beauty of the Gillespie Approach. I see the world of torticollis, plagiocaphaly, and many other infant illnesses fading away in time with preventative therapy at birth.

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Dr. Barry Gillespie

Dr. Barry Gillespie founded Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy, which provides patients with a freely moving brain, spinal cord and fascial web, all critical to optimal health. Dr. Barry Gillespie also created the Baby Brain Score and discovered effective therapeutic techniques for newborns and infants. Read more about Dr. Barry Gillespie.

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