What are Primitive Reflexes?
Our nervous system develops reflexes from as early as 5 weeks in the womb. These emerge in order to enable the baby to participate in the birthing process, and then survive and develop in the outside world. Gestational and early infant reflexes are the basis for movement, sensory integration and socialisation, and they should disappear/integrate once the associated developmental stages of early infancy and childhood are successfully achieved. Sometimes there can be disruptions in this integration process and the primitive reflexes are retained which have been postulated to be a contributing factor in a wide range of symptoms that are obstacles to successful learning at any stage. The use of very small and seemingly insignificant movements are utilised to help calm and integrate reflexes in children and adults alike, and can be a useful tool for self regulation at any age.
It is not uncommon that I pick up possible retained primitive reflexes when doing rehabilitation exercises, and will suggest the integrative movements as part of the home exercise plan.