Importance of Integrating Reflexes

The Importance of Integrating Reflexes

Integrating reflexes is an essential key for the ability to learn easily, manage our emotions and impulses and meet life’s challenges with greater ease. Incomplete integration of childhood reflexes can be mild to severe, and has been shown to contribute to

  • Anxiety and/or feeling overwhelmed
  • Depression
  • ADD and ADHD
  • autism
  • learning difficulties
  • developmental delays
  • sensory integration disorders
  • visual and auditory processing disorders
  • and behavioural challenges eg addictions

So What Are Infantile Reflexes?

Any reflex is an automatic, instinctual movement that assists in developmental growth and survival and maybe active throughout our lives eg blinking, breathing. Infantile reflexes surface in the womb and infancy and are designed to become inactive after the toddler stage. The sucking and grasping reflexes of babies are two that we are familiar with. The reflexes involved as precursors to rolling, crawling and standing are less obvious. In the ideal developmental pathway, these infantile reflexes should merge into more sophisticated movements and become integrated, therefore making the initial infantile reflex inactive.

What Causes Unintegrated Reflexes?

Clinical research has shown that unintegrated active childhood reflexes can result from:

  • Lack of enough proper movement in early childhood – today we have many “baby traps” that eliminate the infants instinctive needs to move. Examples include plastic carriers, propping devices, playpens, walkers, swings, jumpers, car seats, TV and computers – all hamper opportunities for movement and restrict the instinctual movements required for brain development.
  • Stress of the mother during pregnancy, breech birth, birth trauma or Caesarean delivery.
  • Illness, trauma, injury and chronic stress;
  • Environmental toxins and plastics, complications with vaccinations and exposure to electronic pollution.

There is evidence that reflexes that were completely integrated maybe reactivated later by trauma, injury, toxins and stress.

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