Primitive preborn reflexes

Living with reflexes means, that many people - mostly without knowing it - have reflex reactions (still active) that interfere and determine their lives and produce a lot of suffering, cost energy because they have to be suppressed in everyday life. 

This may cause emotional problems and in many cases ADHD

Research on child development clearly indicates that the beginnings of disorders in perception, motor skills, behaviour and learning are to be found in an individual at a fairly early stage of his or her development. 
This means that, in addition to genetic predisposition, the circumstances under which a child spent the time in the womb and the way in which it came into the world can have a decisive influence on the further development of a child. 
A large part of prenatal brain development is determined by motor functions controlled by reflexes at the brainstem and spinal cord level. 
These reflexes are already formed from the 9th week of pregnancy (MORO) onwards and are fully developed in the 15th - 18th week of pregnancy. 

The reflexes give the still unborn child abilities to move and to help protect its own life when stressed. 
Survival reflexes assert themselves indispensably when they have been triggered. 

The next pre-programmed task in the interaction of these reflexes is both in the preparation for birth (turning into the correct (cranial) position and then during the birth process itself the assistance of the baby to wriggle through the birth canal and thus make the (natural) birth possible in the first place (ATNR). 
 As survival reflexes, they are also centrally involved in ensuring that the still unborn baby survives the compression of the umbilical cord during a contraction unharmed (ATNR). 

So, this is also a precautionary measure of nature: the baby only gets through the birth canal with its own effort and "cannot simply fall out". 

The first breath and cry are also reflex-triggered (MORO) and thus essential for survival. 

Main primitive reflexes


MORO Reaction

It is an involuntary, uncontrollable reaction, because it is triggered by the brainstem, to a sudden stimulus, usually triggered in the neonatal period by a sudden change in the position of the head in relation to the trunk or also by a sudden noise. 
 The motor action of the Moro reflex consists of a sequence of rapid movements: First, the arms and legs are moved away from the body in symmetrical abduction, with the infant inhaling violently. After a brief freeze, the arms and legs are brought  back towards the body in a clasping movement and the baby exhales, often accompanied by a cry. 

In addition to this motor action, however, the following highly significant accompanying symptoms also occur: The release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol activates the sympathetic nervous system and thus the readiness to fight or flee. This is associated with an increase in breathing rate, acceleration of the heartbeat, increase in blood pressure and reddening of the skin. 

Thus, children and also adults can be mentally and physically constantly on the threshold of fight-or-flight reactions and thus always on the alert. The increased perceptiveness and sensitivity resulting from the activation of the sympathetic nervous system makes them imaginative and empathetic on the one hand, but on the other hand, unknown, surprising sensory impressions and situations repeatedly trigger immature overreactions that are not appropriate to the occasion. In order to cope with the unpredictable environment, they often tend to want to control or manipulate situations, be it through aggressiveness or also through fearful withdrawal. 

Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR)

This reflex, which in the German-speaking world is preferably called the "fencer's posture" in its non-pathological manifestation, begins to form around the eighteenth week of pregnancy, at about the same time that the pregnant woman feels her baby's movements for the first time. 
When the baby turns its head to one side, the arm and leg stretch to the same side, while they bend on the other side. This movement should increase in strength as the pregnancy progresses, driving movement development, especially twisting movements in the confined space of the womb, and building muscle tone. 

It is activated when the oxygen supply to the unborn baby is impaired, e.g. by compression of the umbilical cord. 

It is primarily the ATNR that, together with other reflexes, supports the birth process. As labour progresses, the baby is not only pushed slowly through the birth canal by the action of the contractions. In order for the largest part of the baby to conform to the corresponding parts of the mother's pelvis, the baby must perform a series of turns so that it travels in a slow spiral down the birth canal. These turns are necessary to help the baby make its way through the maternal pelvis, which is narrow in relation to its head. The ATNR helps the baby do just that by making the shoulders and hips mobile when pressure is applied to the neck. 

A persistent ATNR can be a trigger for fear reactions that do not appear situation-appropriate to the untrained observer, it can impair eye-following movements and thus be involved in reading and spelling disorders, or it can trigger nausea and dizziness when driving, for example. 

spinal galant

The spinal galant reflex is triggered on the right and left side of the spine by stroking from the lower shoulder blade angle to the pelvis. It causes rotation and lateral flexion of the equilateral pelvis. The spinal galant reflex enables early movement of the pelvic and hip region and facilitates birth. 

It should be inhibited by the 9th month of life at the latest. If it persists, the children are hypersensitive in the back and pelvis. 

Possible symptoms triggered by persistence: 

·       Increased urge to move 

·       Concentration problems 

·       Poorer bladder control (wetting) 

·       Digestive disorders (e.g. constipation/abstipation) 

·       Travel sickness 

·       Flaccid muscle tone (hypotonia) 

Symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR)

With flexion (bending) of the head, the arms are bent and the legs extended under the STNR and with extension of the head, the tonus relationships are reversed (loss of tension). 

Possible symptoms triggered by persistence: 

·       Muscle hypotonia 

·       Eye tracking problems (loss of line) 

·       Hyperactivity 

·       Slowness in writing/typing 

·       Concentration problems 

·       Tension in the neck and shoulder area 

Tonic Labyrinth Reflex (TLR)

The tonic labyrinth reflex originates from the labyrinth and reacts in the supine position to changes in the position of the head forwards and backwards. If the head is moved backwards, the whole body is stretched. If the head moves forward, the body gets into a bending posture. The bending posture is needed for the mature birth position, the TLR backwards is necessary and then also becomes fully mature when exiting the birth canal. The TLR forward should be inhibited in the 3rd month of life and the TLR backward only later at about three and a half years. 

Possible symptoms triggered by persistence: 

The vestibulo-ocular reflex arc is only insufficiently developed because no mature balance behaviour is possible. When the position changes or the head moves, the TLR constantly appears. The balance reactions cannot be automated. This requires the child to constantly fight against a loss of tone during flexion of the head or an increase in tone during extension of the head. 
For the child, this means an enormous effort in everyday life with increased energy consumption. Continuous balance reactions are necessary, where other children manage without much effort. 
 These children often show high muscle tone in the short neck muscles and fix their upper cervical joints in extension. 

The thoracic spine is in a kyphotic (bent) posture and very tight, especially in the upper thoracic spine. The knees are pressed into extension and hyperextended, which has an effect on the lumbar spine. The lordosis of the lumbar spine is very deep at L5/S1 and leads to overload here. The abdominal muscles are too weak due to the TLR and cannot counteract the strong lumbar spine lordosis. The pelvis and head cannot move freely. This reduces body and spatial awareness and the children have poorer orientation. 

What is RIP?

(Reflex Integration Program)


The RIP (reflex integration program) is a treatment program within the framework of neurophysiological development promotion.
We show how doctors and therapists can investigate the persistence of early childhood reflexes within a manageable time frame. We offer a RIP training program for anybody interested, who might need this to improve teir work. .
The program is aimed at all professions that are committed to the integration of body, mind and soul, both physiologically and psychologically and pedagogically.
We aim to improve body awareness, to be at home in the body and to strengthen self-regulation.
The basic structure of RIP is the structure of movement sequences, based on the history of human development.
The existential need for security, with the orders from early childhood reflexes, runs through our training program.
Nature has taken good precautions by giving us autonomous reaction patterns that ensure our life and survival. For its development, the child's brain needs stimulation through sensory impressions, so that nerve cells can branch out. The stimulation of balance and touch is particularly important, and the experience, that in movement lays safety.
Every movement and the possible consequence of it is only possible via reflex patterns, it is needed for a manageable period of time to learn it. The respective brain maturation then takes place in repetition while developing conscious movement control.
In the case of faulty brain maturation, the brain keeps movement sequences that match the reaction patterns of the primitive reflexes.


RIP offers to recognize and sense movement contexts and movement sequences. The desired storage takes place in the ritualized repetition.