In Touch Massage and Craniosacral Therapy, Westport CT
Life Works

Kids In Touch


Chronic headaches usually occur when there is overdue stress on the muscles that attach to the base of the head.  Lots of kids lie in bed and use technology with no awareness of their head position.  People often tilt their head, raise their arms and fold in when they are on their phones.  In this position the chin is constantly tilted down and the neck muscles that attach to the skull pull on the bones of the skull.  This extended activity creates tension in the fascia of the head and causes headaches.  When the headaches become migraines, more bones in the skull are involved.  

With migraines it is possible that the bones of the head become stuck out of alignment independent of daily activity.  The origin of the tension or the strain can come from how we are using our body, from how bones of the skull adjusted after child birth, from scar tissue, or from how we absorbed forces in an accident or fall. Craniosacral therapy has lots of gentle techniques to identify and resolve these restrictions.    

A concussion is individualized.  It can be simple and require just a re-alignment or it can be like a migraine from an outside force which  include layers of strain patterns that release over a series of sessions.     There can be individualized complications in addition to headaches such as vision, balance or cognitive dysfunction. An experienced therapist with good listening skills can assist the healing process.    

SPORTS Kids who are active in sports their who life have amazing knowledge of how to control their body, and often no awareness of what a pain free relaxed body feels like.  All the kids I work on, whether they ride horses or down hill ski, have incredibly tight back muscles and the bottoms of their feet feel more like bone then muscle.  I can connect with and show the muscles that they can let down and relax.  

These kids are also driven and don’t want to rest when they have an injury.  Every injury has inflammation which slows down healing.   Fascia work can be very gentle and can open up the area of injury in it’s acute phase to quicken the healing process.  The work is very effective getting blood to flow through knee and ankle injuries.  Often injuries are happening because other parts of the body are so tight that the place that is still flexible takes on more than what is natural for it to accomplish.  Opening up the muscles spasms away from the injury site will decrease the potential of a re-occurring injury. 


BIRTH TO THREE    Craniosacral therapy is valuable contribution to the birth to three program.  It’s primary focus is to support the natural development nervous system.  I get excited when an infant who has a tight neck that connects all the way down to his foot gets the release I am looking for because I know the ease he will now have learning to roll over and crawl. 

Childhood is an amazing time filled with continuous opportunities for change, but so much in development is automatic.  Wouldn’t it be great if someone could meet your child exactly where he or she is and find the opportunity to step in with the right challenge to encourage what naturally occurs next?  

EYE CONTACT  I love working with two and three years olds to establish eye contact.  They come in because someone has identified them with behaviors that fall in the autism spectrum.  I choose to hear the measure that needs to change, see the child as perfect, and go from there.  I just finished working with a two and a half year old who came in and did not look at me for 4 sessions.  She did let me work with her.  As a baby she didn’t want her head touched, not even a hat.  In the first session her mom was surprised she let me touch her head.  I wasn't because in this work the body invites you in.  By the 4th session she didn’t want to leave.  And in the 5th session she turned around and looked up at me and screamed three different times.  Then she went and stood up on a small chair and looked to me for approval, success!!  It feels really good helping families. 

 At Kids In Touch there are two avenues for eliciting change.  One is to find ways to expand spatial awareness. This builds higher levels of control and broadens the foundation for what was missed.  The second is listening through touch to what the nervous system needs to optimize development, Craniosacral therapy.   

The core foundation of my graduate work was to explore the whole body as part of a perceiving-acting cycle.  What I came up with are some of the common organization principles for vision, balance, movement, posture, and sensory-motor processing for goal directed behavior.  I have a unique understanding and ability to create opportunities to learn.  Give me a call and let me know what is going on with your child.


Carolyn grew 4 inches after our first session!  Her legs strengthened and now she is reaching and using her body more like other 5 year olds in her class.  Mena F 

I was worried, my son didn’t always make eye contact. I noticed a dramatic difference in eye contact after the 1st visit. I thought I was going crazy but it was all you!!  Thanks Gail!   Rosanna F

Baer was not progressing with writing and his teachers were struggling and blaming him.  Now he sits down on his own, holds the pencil correctly and is excited to draw for me.  Baer asks about when he will see Gail.      Maureen P

My son tripped over his feet when he ran.  Now he runs everywhere.  Thanks Gail!     Todd P

Sensory Motor Integration: A Unique Perspective

How We Move Effects What We Perceive Is Possible For Us To Do

I work with the sensory systems through movement to create new opportunities for how the body self organizes to achieve goals. This creates new pathways and new abilities for how we perceive and interact in the world. In this style of teaching change occurs in both the sensory and motor systems together.  Techniques often use the foundation of one system to teach the other. This work has helped children with the simplest challenges of ball catching to the more difficult challenges that occur with developmental delay. If your child has a specific problem with walking on toes, tripping, crawling, eye-hand coordination, penmanship, visual processing, posture, body awareness, is injury prone, or having a unique learning challenge, this work can be a valuable step in his or her development.  

Our Foundation for How We Perceive and Organize Our Actions is Established in Early Childhood special needs
We each learn our own unique subset of ways to organize our movements. The foundation for how we organize our movements follows how we develop as babies and toddlers. In child development there are milestones that measure the onset and repression of reflexes that effect how we perceive and know the world. How we transition through these milestones creates a strong or a weak foundation. The goal of my work is to strengthen the foundation.

Why my Techniques are Different From Other Therapists. I spent 10+ years in graduate research building a unique understanding of the common denominators for sensory-motor integration. The framing of my work is holistic. The framing of the questions were different from the medical based disciplines of Occupational or Physical Therapy. It was in a branch of psychology called Ecological Psychology. In this disciple an individual develops in her environment as one system. Her movements create her perceptions and her perceptions direct her movements. In a medical based model each system (vision, hearing, balance, proprioception) is studied separately, each generate separate data and then rely on complex computations by the brain to interpret and coordinate a response which is another set of computations. There are no common denominators across systems. I have a completely different awareness of human design. From this, I have developed a unique set of variables that I work with that are different from and a valuable asset to facilitating and supporting the goals of other therapists. When your child reaches a plateau with his or her therapist I may have a fresh insight into the problem.

Combining Disciplines
At present my sessions often combine movement work withcranio-sacral therapy. The cranio-sacral techniques release fascial pulls and strains that restrict optimal nervous system development. Independently these are both effective ways to help the nervous system develop.

Recently I worked with a fourteen month old who was having difficulties turning his head to the left, his hands and arms were often eliciting the startle reflex, one eye lid was partially closed, and he was not walking. Over a series of sessions we were able to resolve all of these issues.

I work with kids of all ages. Lots of small issues. I had a 10 year old child who was miserable going to gym class. When I watched him walk he always started with his left leg. His right leg followed him. It never crossed midline. We worked together for a short series of sessions, he gained the control of his right leg and was able to pass his gym class.

Follow the series of images below that capture the change in a 6 year old's pencil grip.  He began with a fist grip, then moved to good finger control but continued to use large gross motor movements.  Notice his hand is off the table anchored by his elbow.


The biggest challenge was to get his hand to rest on the table.  It took some thinking but we figured it out!  It was all about the wrist.  I ended up using a large crayon with broad wrist movements to color in a section gently grounding the wrist to the table.   He got it instantly!  The last picture is of a circle within a circle demonstrating his newfound control.

A ten year old came in with ADD.  During sessions he would talk and I would hear how brilliant and amazing his mind was.  During one session he went silent for 10 minutes.  At the end of the ten minutes he immediately asked, "How long was that?".  I said 10 minutes, to which he immediately responded, "I was sleeping".  To which I responded that his eyes were open.  He followed up with "I can do that".  He had the experience and it is now part of him.  

One of my first clients was a fourteen year old severely autistic child who would bang his knee into his head. I worked with him and his aid in short 5 minute blocks of time. I was able to separate out a relationship between his upper and lower body. What changed is that he began banging his elbow against his side. He now has the choice of creating the stimulus he is desiring without hurting his head. The set of variables I work with have been effective, and once experienced there is nothing to practice or learn.

I believe that the nervous system will self correct when the opportunity arises, and I know how to create opportunities.

How is Pediatric CranioSacral Therapy Performed?
The primary focus of CranioSacral Therapy is on the central nervous system. As the control center of the body, the central nervous system influences every other major body system and function. A typical session takes place in a quiet setting with a child resting, being read to, or playing on a massage table.

The therapist hands rest lightly in different places on the body evaluating the CranioSacral rhythm. This is followed by a gentle placement of the hands on the body to elicit a release of any restrictions felt. The hands stay in this position over a period of time until the release is complete.

Parents read or play with the child as he or she lays or sits on the massage table.  

Craniosacral therapy has helped children with   

  • Eye Contact
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder    
  • Birth Trauma
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Poor Motor Execution
  • Poor Motor Planningsensory motor integration
  • Neurological Issues
  • Sensory Processing Issues      
  • Spasticity
  • Speech Issues
  • Strabismus
  • Scoliosis
  • Emotional Stress
  • Quieting the mind 

The movement work has helped with

  • Difficulty with hand-eye coordination activities
  • Perceived motor difficulty
  • Problems crawling, walking on toes, or toed in
  • Motor planning delay
  • Delayed visual processing
  • Eye-motor coordination problems
  • Auditory localization
  • Temporal awareness
  • Spatial awareness
  • Balance
  • Muscle tone 


photo credits  

boy on stairs  

girl dancers 

child on beach