HandSpring Bodywork

Treating Infants and Children

“My son had had a blocked tear duct since birth. I had been told that he would grow out of it. But at 18 months old, my little man woke up from a nap with the whole right side of his face red, swollen, hot and his eye stuck shut. He was clearly in pain and only wanted to be held.

“At the Emergency Room they put him on antibiotics and wanted him to have a surgery to stick a needle in his eye and widen his tear duct. I decided to do further research first. At home, I got online and found Nancy Crooks, who does Mechanical Link. At the appointment, we witnessed a miracle. She instantly connected with my son, did her work over only a few minutes, then explained it to me.

“I watched as she felt his left calf, and then around his forehead. She mentioned that his nose was uneven. I saw some deft motions with her hands on his skin between his eyebrows. As I watched his eye started twitching, his body completely relaxed and his tear duct dried up.
“He was just as shocked as I was and there was instant relief in the room. His whole energy changed; he slept hard on the drive home and woke up with a clear eye, clear skin and happier than my boy has ever been.

“Since Nancy’s treatment, my son's eyes have been perfectly normal, his sleep patterns have never been so routine and he is just an all around happy boy. I’m glad we didn’t take the procedure offered at the hospital.”


If you’re a parent, or a step-parent, or a grandparent you know how hard it is to see a child feeling pain. And if it’s a long-term or difficult to diagnose problem, you can identify with this mother. You do not want to subject your child to medications, surgeries and other interventions that may or may not help.


My work with babies and young children has been some of the most gratifying help I provide.  Like this mother, parents are tremendously relieved that there is no danger or risk at all in this treatment, and nothing that would further traumatize their child. And unlike some adults I have treated over the past few decades, little children have no issues about whether or not to “believe in” Mechanical Link, which is a little-known type of body work.


Because little children frequently can’t describe their pain, we tend to think it is  only when we get older that we have problems like back pain, headaches, sciatica, or digestive problems. But anyone who has been a parent knows that children cry and show signs of hurting. Certainly, we all know someone who’s had a baby that is ‘difficult’ - inconsolable despite clean diapers and a full belly, a baby with parents who are sleep-deprived and at their wits’ end. The advice for them is usually “She’ll grow out of it.” When you’re wondering how you’re going to make it through the next 48 hours, this is not reassuring.


More ‘silent’ are difficulties with motor development and apraxia - delays or difficulty in sitting, walking, running, balance, and that very important skill for school, being able to sit relatively still and focus.


What causes these problems?

Stuff happens. Pregnant women trip and fall, manage medical conditions, take recreational drugs, and are exposed to injurious environmental chemicals through polluted air, water or food. Uncontrollable circumstances of the pregnancy such as small woman/large baby, previous abdominal surgery, the positioning of the fetus during gestation, the progress of labor and delivery - all these things have an  impact  on the child (and the mother).


We don’t see any problems, and her APGAR score was perfect.
You might not see any problems right away, and the ones you do see are often written off as normal. There’s a lot we don’t know about human brains and bodies and how they develop. We don’t have good explanations for why some children and adults experience so many chronic pain problems, auto-immune diseases and mental disorders.


However, in February 2017, a study published in Journal of the American Academy of child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) explained how researchers were able to use fMRI (functional MRI) to detect signs of anxiety and depression in newborns. The researchers saw specific brain connectivity patterns that may correlate with mental health difficulties later in life.


This finding certainly corresponds to what I find in my work doing manual therapy. I’m able to use my acute sense of touch to locate areas of tissue disturbance and restriction. These are generally not where the person has a complaint, but are in the areas that cause the body to compromise its function in order to survive. For example, many people appear to have one leg longer than the other, and one hip (usually left) will be higher.  The body creates this imbalance to protect vital structures such as the bladder and major blood vessels. After a Mechanical Link treatment, the body doesn’t ‘need’ this protection because the strain in the system is more balanced.


Most often, I find, in people of all ages, these tissue disturbances in places that could only arise during development as a fetus, most often in the face and skull. Other frequent findings are restrictions from early childhood accidents such as scars or trauma from burns, falls and surgery. The fact that they are found in persons of any age tells us that these restrictions have a life-long impact. When the restrictions are freed, health and pain issues frequently resolve.    
It’s true that diagnosing these ancient strains in the body is a rare and unusual skill. Many adults, parents and children have found it helpful, however. For example, a 5-year- old boy had difficulty walking. He couldn’t run without falling. He had no other problems or diagnoses, but this disability  diminished  his ability to play and socialize with other active children. At his third treatment visit, his mother and grandmother told me how amazed and tearfully joyful they were when they saw him running outside with the other kids, agile and free.


A 9-year- old girl with Attention Deficit Disorder found school very difficult. Reading was torture, and her attention wandered constantly. Her grandmother sent her to me. The day after her treatment, she had a  standardized test, and tested a whole grade higher than on her previous test! She began reading books for pleasure. This child’s academic future became much brighter with just one treatment.


A 6-month-old boy was referred because of a misshapen head, known as a plagiocelphaly. The back of his head was very flat. He was required to wear a helmet at least 23 hours a day and could expect to wear it for 12 to 24 months. That type of orthotic helmet therapy can cost $2300-$4000 and insurance coverage can be difficult to obtain.  This baby’s  motor development was also delayed. By the time he was eight months old, he did not enjoy sitting up, whereas normal infants begin sitting around six months. He had his third treatment just before his first birthday, and had been sitting up and actively crawling for about 6 weeks. The flat spot on the back of his head had diminished to a area about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. His parents are delighted that with the approach of summer weather, that thick helmet will soon be unneeded.

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Handspring Bodywork

Naturopathic Health Clinic of NC

117B Reynolda  Village, Winston-Salem, NC 27106

Tel: 336-722-3350 | Email Form

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