July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month!
Many of us know or have loved ones with a cleft lip or palate. I, myself, have a cleft lip; my mother as well.
In utero, the lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy, the palate during the sixth and ninth weeks. During development, the tissue and cells from the side of the face grow together and join in the center. A cleft lip is when the tissues that make the lip do not join completely before birth. This leaves either a small slit in the upper lip or a larger opening from the lip into the nose. A cleft palate is when the roof of the mouth does not fully form or join together leaving an opening. This can involve the hard palate (the boney front portion of the palate) or the soft (soft back portion of the roof of the mouth).
In Chinese Medicine, a cleft lip or palate is diagnosed as a Kidney Jing deficiency. Jing is equivalent to Essence. Essence on a physiological level would be DNA, bones, marrow and our reproductive ability (both men and women). We utilize not only acupuncture, but also Chinese herbs, vitamins/supplements and diet/lifestyle recommendations to support the body’s growth and wellbeing. This is important for prenatal, natal and post-natal care. As well as just living a healthier and more active life.