2016 ArticlesGillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy Articles

Suck, Swallow, Breathe (and Now Speech and Dentistry) Revisited

Everyone agrees that the “suck, swallow, and breathe” skill is paramount for a newborn to thrive. We discovered in our infant research that CFT/IDM can incredibly optimize this complex function by releasing craniosacral fascial strain in the oropharyngeal area. We also believe that CFT/IDM reestablishes normal neonatal neurophysiology for better cognition, speech, and oral balance later in life. The following story shows the difficulties an untreated newborn can have as life unfolds. His mother emailed this follow-up report after his second two-day CFT intensive with me:

“My son was a breastfed baby and to say we had some difficulty breastfeeding, especially in the first six months, is an understatement. I had a normal milk flow volume on the left side, but the right side had a more intense milk flow where my son would gag and choke. He eventually adjusted his latch to protect his throat by raising and bunching up the back of his tongue as a barrier, which also made his latch very shallow. Within a month or two and after pain and blisters, he ‘sawed’ off my nipple into a triangular shape. The kiddo did what he could to survive. It is also interesting that his latch was just fine on my left side.

After seven years with an autism diagnosis and many alternative healing therapies, his speech, breathing, chewing, and swallowing patterns are among the few issues that we are still struggling with. Oral defensiveness still exists, though much diminished as compared to what we had at the time of the diagnosis. We saw Dr. Gillespie about six months ago and noticed instant improvements with quality of speech and other issues.

Since then he has made good progress with myofunctional therapy, an ALF orthodontic appliance, and osteopathic care. However, we are still dealing with tongue thrust, lisping, etc. His speech is choppy, and he tends to repeat parts of sentences or words on occasion. He mouth breathes and gasps for air while speaking, and to lesser degree while eating. He cannot tolerate fruit or vegetables and badly gags at foods with texture and taste, even a sweet piece of fruit. Even though his variety of foods is wider today than at the time of the diagnosis, eating still remains a struggle.

The night after his CFT appointments, both my husband and I thought his speech flowed a bit freer and easier, with less gasping. He repeated himself fewer times. The day after his CFT, we went for our weekly parkour class, where the differences became more apparent. He was a lot more focused and ‘on point’ during the class, was very verbal and even chatty. Again, his speech seemed to be flowing easier. He was also really good about maintaining personal space; he did not bump into the kid ahead of him once, which had been a big problem.

During the class they did activities that he previously had a lot of trouble with, like throwing and catching a tennis ball while balancing on a narrow metal pipe structure. Before, his hand-eye coordination was off, so he tended to throw the ball too far, too close, or to the side, instead of into the hands of his partner. His tracking and convergence issues prevented him from catching the ball. In addition, there was the challenge of watching his partner for cues so that he was ready to catch the ball when it was thrown. This time his performance was in line with the other kids. He seemed to have made progress in terms of social interactions and flexibility as well, and ended up staying after the class playing with the other kids.

Later on that night, he took three bites of an olive, which he was successfully able to chew and swallow with minimal gagging. Then, at dinner, he had a few bites of mashed potatoes, which he wasn’t able to handle before, with minimal gagging. Today, he had another couple of bites of the leftover mashed potatoes. While he wasn’t wild about them, he didn’t gag at all this time. Today his homework (writing) seems to have gone easier as well.

All in all, just like after our first intensive, we are seeing some pretty dramatic instant changes. Since at the first CFT intensive we had just completed a Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) conference before visiting Dr. Gillespie, I wasn’t sure if the changes we were seeing were due to the reflex work or craniosacral fascial release. This time around, there is no doubt in my mind that the intense CFT work is what is making the difference.”

He peeled his onion with CFT from his pelvis into his throat/head. He was also holding a lot of craniosacral fascial strain in his tongue, even after a recent revision procedure. The tongue consists of muscle tissue where fascia encases each muscle cell. Towards the end of this second intensive visit, mom and I focused on his circular throat/neck craniosacral fascial restriction. The fascia felt like it was completely closing off his throat in a 360-degree manner.

This pattern was very unsettling for me during the session. Strain in any part of the body can be challenging for anyone, but in this area, with so many critical life-supporting functions present, it has to be a really arduous way for any human being to live. As his craniosacral fascial system released as both he and his mom “rode the CFT bull” hard, we could both feel his neck and throat open up. I felt a strong sense of joy that we appeared to be getting at the core of his health issues. It reconfirmed to me our primary mission of preventing a lifetime of suffering because of a difficult birth. His brain cycle was well over 200 seconds at the end of the CFT session.

We can expect to have a good outcome as his craniosacral fascial strain from birth trauma is mitigated. In the big picture I believe that the Baby Brain Score would have red-flagged this child at birth. He would have had his first CFT/IDM visit immediately and continued until he had a wider palate and was completely strain-free. I believe that the family would have experienced a totally different health outcome for their newborn son. I believe this work is possible for everyone born on the planet. If you share this belief, please join us to help change the world.

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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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