The Importance of ReflexesReflexes, Delayed Development & Mental Health

When things go as they ought, we develop reflex actions to deal with certain situations. Some remain with us forever, like blinking when something comes close to our eyes, and some get inhibited, like an infant’s sucking and hand movement reflexes, to be brought out when we need.

As so often happens though, life isn’t always ideal, and sometimes this pattern of reflex integration and inhibition doesn’t happen. Perhaps an infant or toddler doesn’t get enough of the right kinds of movement, or stress — emotional, chemical, illness or toxins — prevent the progress — or when we’re older, those stresses can bring those reflexes up again.

Just as an infant’s crawling helps to learn efficiently later in life, there are many other reflexes starting from before a mother even knows she’s expecting that contribute to our healthy emotional, physical and mental function. Using movement patterns that at times mimic what an infant does, either with a partner or alone, these patterns are re-introduced. Once the ideal pattern is re-established, tremendous changes can take place as coping mechanisms are no longer needed.

Effects of retained reflexes run the gamut, from learning disabilities to frequent meltdowns to autism and ADD/ADHD. One reason why so many have a difficult time with getting past a developmental delay is that one or more of their body’s reflexes are still stuck in an earlier period of childhood.

If you’re in counseling and don’t seem to be getting anywhere despite really wanting to make progress, is it possible that one or more reflexes are holding you back?

A fear paralysis reflex that’s retained can show itself in a variety of different ways depending on the coping mechanism that we have developed. Perhaps this person is rigid, negative, or demands a lot of control from others in his environment. Maybe the coping involves keeping those around him very close, or perhaps it’s that they shut others out, focusing on computer games or television.

A related reflex is the Moro reflex, which is an infant’s startle reflex. People with this reflex active frequently live with a lot of fear and anxiety in their lives, and they are frequently in motion to distract themselves and be reassured of their safety.

If you’ve got something like a STNR reflex active, you have lots of company! A lot of people like this like to stand at their desks; if they sit, they do so with one foot underneath them or both feet hooked around a chair leg. Especially children tend to lie down on their desk, propping up their head when seated.

Sometimes fidgety behavior, especially if it is accompanied by a dislike of tags in clothes, anything around the waist, or dislike of chair backs, can be a result of a Spinal Galant reflex still active. The tactile sensitivity makes it hard to pay attention, and can lead to things like bedwetting or irritable bowel syndrome.

If the infant’s rooting and sucking reflexes don’t get inhibited, emotional reactions continue into adulthood, and responsible for seemingly unrelated problems like having high security needs, and being unable to both listen and look at a person talking to them.

BUT there’s good news, in that questioning and simple, non-invasive checks can determine if reflexes are causing you to struggle, and movement is a holistic way of balancing the brain to function at it’s optimum.

What if YOU could do without some of your medication?