The “Butterfly Position” for R Therapy

By Pam Marshalla

Q: You use the term “Butterfly Position” in Successful R Therapy. Is this something new? Did you make this up, or does it come from somewhere else?

I made up the term “Butterfly Position” in 1978 during a workshop I was teaching. I have used the term ever since in workshop handouts and books I have written.

The “Butterfly Position” refers to the ability to shape the tongue into a position that has a low midline and high sides. This tongue shape should be seen in tongue from birth onward. It is a sign of normal neurological development in the newborn. It also has been called “Hills and Valleys,” “The Bowl,” “The Cup,” the “Tongue Gutter” and more.

Since devising the term myself, I subsequently have heard it used elsewhere. For example, Carol Bowen uses it in some of her material on articulation. I don’t know if she also made it up herself, or if she read it somewhere else.

Someone once emailed and accused me of stealing the term from some old Japanese literature and not giving credit where credit was due. But I did not steal it. I do not read Japanese! Unfortunately the accuser did not tell me who was due the credit, and we have had no more communication since. If you find other sources for the term “Butterfly Position,” please pass it on to me and I will gladly post it here.

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