RETAINED NEONATAL REFLEXES

The central nervous system is the control centre for living. Its health and performance determines how we perceive the world around us and how we respond to circumstances, stresses and obstacles which may arise.

During our development in the womb and in the early months of life the higher processing or thinking areas of our brain are not fully developed. At this time we are protected and assisted by primitive reflexes to illicit involuntary responses when we are not yet able to use rational thought. A reflex response may vary from rapid muscular movements (knee jerk reaction) to those involving breathing, perceptual adjustments, hormonal changes and more complex body movements.

As your central nervous system matures as you grow, the need for many involuntary reflex responses is reduced. At this point, if the reflex is not lost its reaction when stimulated can become undesirable. Some reflexes however are necessary throughout life, such as when we quickly move in self-preservation like moving a hand away from heat when you are burned.

Sometimes if reflexes are retained this can upset some, or all of the functions of the higher control centres of the brain. Children that have retained neonatal reflexes, can present with problems behaving, learning and co-ordinating gross or fine motor movements.  Untreated, these issues can continue throughout ones life.