Tongue tie and lip tie - Gillespie Approach–Craniosacral Fascial Therapy

Tongue-Tie and Lip-Tie Philosophy

As a former periodontist I have a special interest in newborn oral issues. This past week I saw a five-day-old boy with a noticeably recessed jaw. The lactation consultant recommended tongue-tie and lip-tie surgery to help correct the problem. Before the parents went ahead with surgery, they asked for my opinion.

In the delivery some delay may have caused trauma to his face. The face normally slides along the inside of the sacrum/coccyx in a vaginal delivery. In our infant research we found many babies had TMJ trauma here if the coccyx did not fully release into extension. I also know from our research that the root of his oral issues are probably coming from pelvic craniosacral fascial strain. We found that oral issues will not fully clear until the pelvic issues are completely resolved.

Clinically his pelvis was very tight along with his abdomen, shoulders, and neck. This is a common pattern where the pelvic fascia pulls on the shoulders which pull on the neck which pull on the oral structures….my fascial web world of connecting the dots in space. If you are just looking at the ties as isolated issues, you can miss the root of the problem. If this craniosacral fascial strain is not cleared now, then you may have the full space-time continuum in play later in life.

With the current health care philosophy, this strain pattern will probably never be resolved. At only five-days-old he has not lived long enough to be labelled with a specific condition(s) (asthma, headache, neck ache, cognitive issue, etc.). Also the parents will never know what could have developed without therapy, and that may be a good thing. Now is the time to address the problem.

I believe that anyone on the planet can suffer the effects of her/his birth trauma for a lifetime. My “golden retirement years” are meant to bring global awareness to this issue. We can NOW identify a problem at birth with the Baby Brain Score (BBS) and offer immediate treatment with craniosacral fascial therapy/infant driven movement (CFT/IDM) to end much of this needless suffering.

Airway passage is always a concern with an infant with a retruded jaw. I found tongue fascial strain along with strain in the tongue-tie mylohyoid region and left TMJ area. The tongue is loaded with fascia, and few providers check for strain here. Our research showed that it can be a big deal for infants with oral issues.

One unusual feature in this case was a very small, tight mouth. His cheeks were also unusually tight. I have seen over 1,000 babies since 1980 and had never noticed this type of oral strain. Then I remembered 47 years ago in anatomy class that the orbicularis oris muscle surrounds the mouth. This along with his cheek fascia were probably traumatized during the delivery.

During the first two CFT/IDM visits all of these tissues started to loosen up. His oral opening became more relaxed. For the new readers therapy frees up tight tissue. The parents agreed to a series of visits to see how he responds. I was taught the medical universal law to do the most conservative procedure first before surgery. When this infant gets to the point of being strain-free and everything else possible has been tried, surgery can be done if the ties are still an issue. I believe everything in health care has its place and time.

I have been down the road of doing these tie procedures 40 years ago as a surgeon….it seems so long ago. I can honestly say that if I knew then what I do now about the effects of craniosacral fascial trauma, I would have held off with the surgery. If you are interested in other CFT/IDM newborn issues, please read our infant research project on‘s Birth Professionals page. Help us change the world.

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