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Craniosacral Therapy: The Key to Successful Treatment of Tongue-Tie

The rate of ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) appears to be on the rise in the United States and around the world. The tongue plays an integral role in breastfeeding, but it is also crucial to other oral functions such as speech, respiration, oral hygiene, swallowing, and chewing.

"If anatomy is preventing the latch from being initiated, a domino effect of compensatory movements begins."

Ankyloglossia has the potential to create strain patterns that originate with the extrinsic muscles of the tongue. These strain patterns may impact craniofacial development, anatomical structure as well as musculature and cranial nerve function.

The upper lip tie can affect the baby's ability to flange in several ways. The first is the most obvious - the shorter and tighter the frenulum is, the more uncomfortable it is for the baby to flange that lip outward, even if mom flanges the lip out manually.

If anatomy is preventing the latch from being initiated, a domino effect of compensatory movements begins. Prevention of that compensatory domino effect is critical in maintaining a long-term nursing relationship.

"Craniosacral therapy is a modality that facilitates bringing the body into normal physiological motion and functionality." - Patricia Berg-Drazin, IBCLC, RLC, CST1

A surgical reduction of the frenulum is only the first step in aiding the healing of the total body system. Even after the tongue has been released, these infants continue to struggle with breastfeeding.

The tongue is connected through the extrinsic muscles to bone both above and below the oral cavity. The restriction of the tongue results in associated strains in the body. When there is difficulty eating and breathing, the stress felt by the system may result in activation of the autonomic nervous system putting the reticular activating/alarm system (RAS) into overdrive.

Craniosacral therapy is a modality that facilitates normal physiological motion and functionality - is a perfect complement to help infants’ bodies release fascial tensions and aid in rebalancing structurally and somatically.

Geddes, et al. Frenulotomy for Breastfeeding Infants With Ankyloglossia: Effect on Milk Removal and Sucking Mechanism as Imaged by Ultrasound. Pediatrics. 122:1; e188-e194.

Berg, Int J Pediatr Neonat Care 2022, 8: 183

IBCLCs and Craniosacral Therapists Strange Bedfellows or a Perfect Match? - Patricia Berg-Drazin, IBCLC, RLC, CST1 - Official Journal of the United States Lactation Consultant Association

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