When we are in utero and are infants, we go through stages of development that help us grow both physically as well as mentally. During these stages we naturally do certain physical movements that help us through each stage. We repeatedly do these movements, building muscle and opening pathways to our higher thinking brain, until we no longer need them. These stages are defined by the automatic reflexes that our bodies exhibit, that become inhibited once they are integrated.
A good example is the stage that includes the Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex (TLR). At this stage, from in utero to about 4 months, when placed on his tummy, a child will pick his head up, even though his head is about the same length and weight as the rest of his body. Where does he get the strength? He doesn't have it - it is a reflex that he cannot control. Meanwhile, while he continues to pick his head up, he gains control and builds muscle, and continues to develop neurologically, eventually integrating the reflex. If the reflex is not integrated, for some reason during the developmental process then it is retained. Some of the symptoms of a retained TLR are poor posture, inability to cross eyes, and poor sense of time. The exercises I teach help to integrate six of the primitive reflexes.
There are six primitive reflexes that I work with, although this is just a subset of all. More information on this subject can be found in the book Reflexes, Learning, and Behavior by Sally Goddard. The primitive reflexes that I work with cover the six groupings of symptoms found below. The names, in order by group, are Moro Reflex, TLR, Spinal Galant, Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR), Symmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (STNR) and Palmar Reflex.
It takes just minutes a day to integrate these primitive reflexes. The exercises need to be done daily, or at least 5 times a week for about a month in order to see a change. Once integrated the student has set up the brain to be able to learn. I have seen children suddenly understand math, finally being able to memorize and remember, and for the first time being able to write a paragraph on their own.
These reflexes set up the body and mind to be able to handle and work through the next phases in the Pyramid of Potential: the sensory-motor system, the cognitive development, and finally academics.