Dr. Leah Light, MNRI® Core Specialist in the USA, explains the role of primairy reflexes.
A reflex is a motor response that automatically occurs whenever a particular sensory stimulus is presented. For example, if you trip and you are about to fall flat on your face, you should automatically put your hands out to catch yourself. This is an automatic reaction to protect yourself. The reflex respons occurs without conscious cortical control. It happens in a split second, without even thinking about it.
Reflexes can be classified based on the nature of their origin, the nervous system circuits involved in their function, the role of the resulting motor responses, and their structural complexity and integrative nature.
Reflexes already exist in utero. A developing fetus is moving in patterns that are essential for survival and protection during birth and in the first few weeks after birth. Primary reflexes become integrated within the first years of an infant’s life.
Each reflex sets the stage for later functioning. Reflexes form the foundation for all further development throughout life. As reflexes become integrated, brain areas connect more and more with each other.
Having our reflexes integrated means that we control movement, and we no longer move in an automatic reactive or protective manner, but that we now can initiate more purposeful, goal-directed behaviors.