Several years ago I had the opportunity to have four year old Mikie as a client. He originally came in for therapy for his hips. His parents noticed his ability to stand and walk was not keeping up with the children in his age group. His grandmother (a nurse) had heard of my work so she and Mikies mom brought him to see me for corrective massage therapy hoping we could help his walking problems. He exhibited tenderness in the hip region and therapy was primarily focused there. Included was an overall muscular rebalancing which included gentle detailed corrective massage in his neck and jaw areas. After several visits Mikies parents told me that his teacher in preschool was observing two important improvements:
-Mikie's increased ability to complete his sentences when speaking.
-The clarity of his spoken words.
These noticeable improvements continued coinciding with Mikies visits for therapy.
I recently had an interesting conversation sharing this with Nancy Cary, a Licensed Speech Language Pathologist whose specialty is children. We discussed the role muscular compromises play in interfering with the ability to speak clearly and what I thought was enabling Mikies speaking abilities to improve.
Consider the following…
Within a study at Purdue using spectral analysis, researchers found a relationship between disrupted muscular activity and speech problems. **
In my opinion, muscles in a state of spam, adhesion, and/or distortion 'compromise' messages sent via the nervous system.
Some are set on automatic (involuntary), for example the musculature components involved in digestion.
Other muscles require intention, for example the musculature actions required to walk. A person intends to move across the room and the muscles respond.
-It appears that when there are problems/compromises in speech, one component can be soft tissue situations that impede the intended message passing (via the nerves) through, in, and around the problematic muscles.
-Contemplate dental work, more than likely after the appointment your mouth felt ‘funny’ and speaking was an awkward challenge. Was this because the nerves monitoring pain were suppressed and this also compromised the ability of the musculature involved in speech? Often the effects wear off….what if those effects did not diminish?
The muscles involved in complicated actions of speech and articulation are innervated by nerves passing through the musculature of the neck and jaw regions.
My theory is compromise/tension within the regional muscles would then diminish nerve flow and impair speech (similar to standing on the garden hose, reducing flow). Therefore, if muscular compromise/tension is reduced, what would follow would be an improved ability to speak.
Was it just a coincidence that Mikie's ability to speak improved following gentle corrective massage to his neck and jaw?
I think not…