What is "Reflex Integration", and what are "retained reflexes"?
"Reflexes" refer to the sensory motor programs that are wired into our early developing nervous system. (Think of them as our "pre-installed operating system".) They enable basic forms of sensory and motor control throughout our initial two years of life. These programs provide the foundations for survival, motor coordination, perception, attention and learning. They are the "starting point" for development and are continuously modified by our experiences. (Think of experience as the "data" that alters the program, allowing for more complexity.) As we gain experiences, these reflexes are shaped and modified beyond recognition from their beginnings, and become unique behaviors and skills. If we do not have the right level of experience at the ideal time in our development, we continue to rely on more stereotypical, restricted patterns to support us.
You may hear the terms "retained" or "primitive" reflexes. These terms imply that reflexes are abnormal, or that they have a negative influence on an individual. Reflexes are indicators of an individual's sensory motor maturation, and provide us with key information for intervention. Our goal is to ensure a sensory motor pathway that has evolved to completion, (so it assumes its proper role in brain development), and to encourage development beyond the reflex level, so an infinite number of sensory and motor skills and behaviors are easily possible.
What Does Reflex Integration Therapy Look Like?
A reflex assessment and careful observation of an individual's movements and behaviors guide us to determine what exercises and activities are indicated. Maggie is trained in several frames of reference with regard to reflex work, including MNRI®, (Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration), Sensory Integration, Rhythmic Movement Training® and Neurodevelopmental Treatment. She has a special interest in how stress and trauma impact our sensory motor systems and how the use of reflex work can alleviate the suffering of anxiety, depression, phobias, and post-traumatic stress.