I clearly remember having an ongoing argument with John Barnes P.T. in the 1980s when I worked in his office as the cranial and TMJ specialist. John felt the fascia was more important than the craniosacral system and muscles. After years of craniosacral training with the chiropractors and osteopaths and subsequent muscle therapy exposure, I said not so.
Of course, John was correct, my late apologies.
When you apply tensegrity principles to the fascial web, it all starts to make sense mechanically. Developing in the first few weeks of life, the web eventually connects every structural cell in the body. Ok, so what does that mean clinically?
I believe it means that a strained organ and its associated system may not be functioning 100%. You will still live but since the cells are restricted, that organ may have more difficulty working smoothly. Current research shows that each cell may have its own unique fascial web, possibly restricting function at the cellular level.
Every cardiac cell is connected with fascia that also incorporates into the full-body web. All these cardiac cells need to communicate unhindered with each other for the heart to be 100%. A strain pattern running through the heart may compromise its function. I believe that people with heart murmurs and slightly irregular beats may have untreated fascial strain. That was my case with premature ventricular contractions at age 33 in 1980.
Fascial strain into the pancreas may create a partial loss of organ function. Maybe you have more trouble digesting food and have less insulin available for sugar metabolism. Clinically, you can have an organic whole-foods diet and still have pancreatic dysfunction. A further question: Can fascial strain be a precursor to pancreatic or any other cancer?
I could go on with every organ and its system in a similar manner. When an organ system is compromised enough, the entire body can be out of balance. The cardiovascular system is connected to the respiratory system, which is connected to the digestive system, etc. Everything is connected to and dependent on everything else.
The tricky concept for health care practitioners is that the heart strain pattern may be originating in the pelvic floor running superiorly into the chest. So clinically that heart murmur can be directly connected to seemingly unrelated chronic urinary tract infections, a reproductive issue, constipation, indigestion, reflux, and breathing difficulty. There is no separateness in body space. Since the fascial web holds trauma in the space-time continuum, the problem may also go back in time, even to birth.
My mentor, Dr. Viola Frymann, found in her research of 1,250 newborns that 88% had craniosacral strain. (Frymann, V. Relation of disturbances of craniosacral mechanisms to symptomatology of the newborn: Study of 1,250 infants. Journal of American Osteopathic Association 1966; 65: 1059-1075.) So the infant question arises, “Can the body heal the strain with growth over time?” Maybe, but we do not know for sure. With some of the lesser strains, that is probably true, but with the more difficult strains found in most fussy babies, probably not.
From my clinical experience of 40-plus years, I believe that soft tissue birth strains can predispose many later pediatric conditions like chronic earaches, asthma, headaches, ADHD, and cognitive problems. These same newborn strain patterns can result in migraines, neck pain, back pain, and other chronic conditions for adults.
So when you have your newborn treated, it is not just about hoping the fussiness issues go away. In reality, every body system is opening to reach that 100% level of optimal function. What a great gift to start life for any child! My mission is to tell the world about the critical importance of the work directly at birth.
Sign up for Gillespie Approach Training Opportunities
Gillespie Approach Foundation Training is designed for students to work with children and adults.
- February 1–3 | Austin, TX
- March 14–16 | Gilbert, AZ
- April 11–13 | Melbourne, FL
- June 6–8 | Colorado Springs, CO
- July 18–20 | Bozeman, MT
- September 5–7 | Surrey, UK
- October 17–19 | New Hampshire
- November 14–16 | Greenville, SC
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