Improving Brain Function For Life

Primitive Reflexes

Primitive Reflexes are developed in the womb and “appear” in us as newborns or toddlers, and then “disappear” as we grow.  In reality, they are always with us, but have become integrated and are not visible because of our advancing neurological development and growth.  Sometimes people fail to integrate these reflexes fully, or, in response to something (usually an intense, stressful situation), “unintegrate” the reflex so that it occurs again.  This is called “retaining” a primitive reflex.  This can have a significant long-term effect on our health and well-being because integrated primitive reflexes form part of the essential foundation of many of our more advanced neurological functions.

Many children who appear healthy at birth actually carry stress with their primitive reflexes when observed.  This is especially important for high-risk newborns as they often show abnormal responses of primitive reflexes, or lack a response entirely.  High-risk examples include premature birth, C-section birth, birthing experiences with complications, births where epidurals were used, unhealthy pregnancies, or newborns experiencing any lack of well-being.

Many youth and adults have been living with stressed primitive reflexes their entire lives and do not recognized that they have been.  Others have likely known they have retained primitive reflexes because they are living with one of many disorders in which this is medically known to occur, such as ADD/ADHD, learning disorders, behavioral issues, processing disorders, Aspergers, Autism, Sensory disorders, Cerebral Paisley, dementia, strokes, etc.  Still others may have been doing fine with their primitive reflex integration until some traumatic event occurred which resulted in the reflex becoming activated again, regardless of this situation, all of these need to be addressed.

Developed by Svetlana Masgutova, Ph.D, as a comprehensive set of programs that focus motor reflex and sensory system integration.  Her original interest resulted from working on-site with traumatized survivors of the Ufa, Russia train accident in 1988.  Since then, she has been researching the influence of motor reflex and sensory integration on the different aspects of motor, communication and cognitive development, and emotional and behavioral regulation.  Her work has significantly progressed the entire field of primitive reflexes and has provided the “missing link” most occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech pathologists, social works, and other specialist have been looking for.

LearnNow uses the Masgutova Method, arguably the world’s best method sought out by Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists who recognize they need more to help their clients, is perfect for helping the physical body “get” what’s happening. We help individuals de-stress their primitive reflexes so their body’s natural healing ability can be at its fullest.  We also educate and train you, or the parent, if the client is a minor, in how to work with the reflex at home.

Specific Reflexes

The following is a list of the reflexes we work with and the common effects that may be experienced if they are retained. Everyone is unique and they may only experience some of the effects.

Asymmetrical Tonic Neck (ATNR) – uncoordinated cross lateral movements, difficulty with thinking/memory/focus/attention/learning, turning body when turning head, difficulty throwing and catching

Babinski – poor balance, language delays, timidity, chewing, lack of grounding and stability, difficulties with gross and fine motor coordination

Babkin Palmomental – tight fists, stuttering and speech issues, excessive or insufficient facial movements, nail biting/pen chewing, dependencies, addictions, can’t walk and talk at same time, food sensitivities

Bauer Crawling – delayed turning over/crawling/walking, difficulty with academics

Bonding – codependent relationships, self-rejection, emotional fragility, isolation

Fear Paralysis – hypersensitivity, panic, anxiety

Flying and Landing – phobia of heights, unable to judge height and depth, impulsive jumping, inability to jump and raise legs, change in gravitation center causes fear/distress

Hands Pulling – poor arm muscle tone, trouble with handwriting and fine motor skill, speech issues and delays, poor socialization, tennis elbow

Hands Supporting – injuries from falls because cannot get hands out to catch self, poor boundaries, easily victimized, aggressive, bullying, too easily enters other’s personal space, head banging

Landau – poor muscle tone, structural and postural disorders, difficulty concentrating, depression

Leg Cross Flexion-Extension – hyperactivity, postural problems, inefficient movements, difficulty with stairs

Moro Embrace – anxiety, timidity, lack of trust, adrenal burnout, poor balance, motion sickness, fear

Robison Hand Grasp – excessive pressure on pencil, finger fatigue, aversion to handwriting and fine motor skills, speech

Spinal Galant – abnormal walking, poor gross motor coordination, scoliosis, bladder issues, discomfort with tight clothes, ADHD, auditory processing

Spinal Perez – spinal deformities, delayed crawling and walking, auditory and tactile hypersensitivity, bladder issues, allergies, digestive issues

Symmetrical Tonic Neck (STNR) – eye tracking and reading difficulties, coordination of head with hand/arm/upper back muscles, quieting motor activity to engage hearing and vision,

Tendon Guard – excessively narrow or wide attention field, limited ability to act, compulsive, over-focused on unimportant details, chaotic, uncontrolled, impulsive movement

Thomas Automatic Gait – poor orientation in space, slow study pace, poorly developed vision perspective

Tonic Labyrinthine (TLR) – too tense or too relaxed body state, poor posture, delayed crawling/walking, poor perception of time and space, inability to stabilize head

Trunk Extension – tendency to bend forward or backward, toe walking, limited imagination, stuck in survival state