Role of the Bodyworker

Understanding Tongue Tie from Birth Onwards – Post 5

Today we’re continuing our series on all different professionals who can offer support in the process of treating you, tongue-tied infant. Because tongue ties have such a wide range of consequences, there are a broad range of medical professionals whose input can help you and your child as you navigate post-birth tongue tie issues.

In this post, we’ll be looking at the role of the bodyworker, who can help your baby to experience the movements and the kinesthetic stimulation that they need to relieve tension from their bodies. Bodywork can benefit every baby, but we’ll also talk about why it is particularly beneficial for babies with tongue ties. When a frenectomy is planned, bodywork beforehand and afterward can help improve surgical success, restore functionality, and foster proper development of the face, jaw, and airway.

What is bodywork?
Bodywork is the use of hands-on touch and physical therapy to allow a baby’s soft tissues to release tension and reorganize. A typical bodywork session could take place in the bodyworker’s office or in your home, and you may hold your baby white the bodyworker works on them, or the baby could be placed on a bodyworker table, on the floor, or in the bodyworker’s lap. The bodyworker will use slow, gentle movements across the baby’s body, paying particular attention to the head and neck, the shoulders, trunk, hips, and feet. The bodyworker may touch and attend to the inside of the baby’s mouth as well. They may reposition the baby as they work to help with alignment.

Bodywork should not be painful or uncomfortable for the baby in any way. Generally, babies find touch pleasant and will experience the sessions as relaxing. Babies may cry during the session due to the stimulation, but if you are concerned at any time then you can let the bodyworker know. Typically bodywork will be between one and ten sessions, depending on the particular needs of your baby, the type of bodywork and each session usually lasts about 30 minutes for infants.

Bodywork is performed by a professional such as a skilled osteopath, a chiropractor (trained in craniosacral therapy and treating newborns), an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, or in some cases a highly skilled massage therapist with extensive in infants and craniosacral therapy. The bodyworker administers this physical therapy in order to relieve tension in the baby’s body, which strengthens and lengthens the muscles – especially those associated with breathing and breastfeeding. Bodywork also helps support neurological integration, the process by which the baby learns to control and move their body. There can be issues with reduced neurological in Caesarean or mechanically assisted births, so bodywork can help redress this issue by giving the baby the natural stimuli that they may have missed due to the birthing process.

Why is bodywork necessary?
As just mentioned, the birthing process has an effect on the way that the baby emerges into the world. In the case of assisted births, babies do not benefit from the natural process of having their autonomic system turned on, and are furthermore birthed in a state of extreme tension. This is known as a process called “armoring,” which can involve the baby having breathing issues, having cold or sniffle-like symptoms, and having limited movement of the chest or other body parts.

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