Updated: Nov 25, 2022
Post-Procedure Tongue Function Exercises
(tongue function exercises, disruptive wound management, active wound management)
Now that you have began to research 'restrictive tongue tie' and its implications, you will undoubtedly have noticed the conversations surrounding 'exercises'. Now, this is a very controversial topic and highly emotive. The biggest problem lies in the lack of definition between the differences between 'Wound Massage', 'Tongue Lifts/Sweeps', 'Active or Disruptive Wound Management', whether the parent or the practitioner does this and who is accountable?, How long for? and What the benefits actually are?! - This is because it is poorly backed up by a robust medical evidence base. As you can see, the terms alone are confusing and "dress-up" the 'act' using calming and gentle wording, and yet this may be painful.
Examples of DWM, stretches or AWM may include: actively breaking the wound open multiple times a day and rubbing it, lifting the tongue to 'stretch' the wound, or sweeping a finger on the underside of the tongue to re-open the wound to delay healing, thus preventing reformation. These are practices that I DO NOT advocate.
The stages of wound healing tells us that interfering with the wound healing process may cause further complications. Thickening of the wound causing further restriction, bleeding, infection or pain causing a feeding aversion all spring to mind, and yet internationally this is common-place routine post procedural care.
(The above link is from the Association of Tongue Tie Practitioners UK, and is the formal link for the 'Position Statements' they uphold!).
To clarify, Body therapies such as osteopathy, chiropractic, cranial-sacral, orofacial myofunctional and physiotherapy are all specialties that are regulated by councils and governing bodies and this is not the same as 'disruptive/active wound management'. They do not advocate touching an open wound. Wound management suggestions, unless they are dual trained in a relevant speciality, is out of their remit. In the same way that I would not dream of trying to diagnose torticollis, as its not my speciality. Even if I was to suspect it-I'd refer to the professional in that field.
Body therapies are very useful at addressing the tensions in the whole body caused by a variety of factors (such as a traumatic birth, birth presentation, or a restrictive tongue-tie are just a few examples) all of which can all interfere with efficient, effective infant feeding and overall health and well being. Interestingly, the nerve endings from the frenulum finish in the toes. I have most definitely seen improvements in the infants I treat who have also had a body therapy to relax, have less wind/reflux, sleep better and improved efficiency in feeding-especially if the jaw is taught from a restrictive frenulum!
Please also see this link:
How I can help
I have trained in the speciality of Orofacial Myofunctional techniques which is a relatively new concept in the world of body-therapy. It specifically looks at the tongue and surrounding oral muscles and structures and links how these can impact on other bodily function such as eating, drinking, breathing and sleeping. At your tongue-tie consultation with me, I will give you specific gentle exercises to help assist your little one in reducing any tension of the face and tongue strengthening exercises too. These are optional of course but will give your little one a 'head-start' to effective feeding.
Additionally to this I have developed some online presentations that will guide you through techniques to help with relaxation, bonding and wind/colic symptoms through baby massage and infant and toddler yoga. If you are interested in these presentations please visit www.d-restricted.co.uk or click onto the link below.
Ultimately, your chosen provider is accountable for their suggestions and actions so please do refer to that practitioner and follow their advice. This blog is my opinion only and is aimed for the families of the infant's I treat.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions or queries that you may have at: firstname.lastname@example.org