Every individual has neurological reflexes present and active in their central nervous system. Neurological reflexes help an individual to function adequately within everyday living and their presence is essential for our survival.
At birth, a baby is born with a number of primitive neurological reflexes. These primitive reflexes facilitate development in the womb, enable a baby to pass through the natural birthing process and stimulate natural development during early life. These primitive reflexes are tested for at birth, where their presence indicates ‘normal’ neurological development in the womb.
As a baby develops they pass through a series of developmental milestones including grasping, rolling, sitting unaided, bottom shuffling, ‘commando’ crawling and creeping. As a child correctly achieves and performs each of these infantile milestones neurological information is fed back to the brain, informing the brain to inhibit primitive neurological reflexes. They are removed from the central nervous system as they have now served their purpose and as such, are no longer required.
As primitive neurological reflexes are inhibited, postural neurological reflexes are released into the central nervous system. This conversion process, from primitive to postural reflex, should be completed by two years of age. Postural neurological reflexes remain active within the central nervous system for the remainder of our lives and facilitate normal daily movement patterns.
The above process describes the maturation that occurs during typical neurological development. However, the inhibition of primitive reflexes does not always occur as intended. For many children who do not pass through the developmental milestones and, therefore, do not feedback the required neurological information, primitive reflexes can remain active in the central nervous system.
In the same way, there are many individuals who achieve the necessary milestones, but do not perform the correct movement pattern, or do not spend enough time within each phase of neurological development. In such cases the required inhibitory neurological information is not fed back to the brain and consequently, primitive reflexes are never removed from the central nervous system. Reflexes that remain present are described as being ‘retained’.
In cases of acquired brain injury, as a result of trauma, the brain in a flight/fight response, reverts back to a primitive stage of development, whereby primitive reflexes (previously inhibited in early years of life) are re-released into the central nervous system and adult reflexes are, as a result, lost.
Retained reflexes act as a barrier to normal development and make it more difficult to develop neurologically and function adequately within everyday living. An individual remains, neurologically speaking, in a state of ‘arrested’ or ‘incomplete’ neurological development.
A presence of primitive reflexes makes it more difficult for an individual to function as each task and activity requires more effort and energy than is naturally required. Activities of daily living will not come naturally to an individual with retained reflexes and as a result they may appear awkward, uncoordinated and rigid when performing tasks. This will inevitably lead to increased frustration levels, reduced self-esteem and increased anxiety levels.
B.I.R.D. aims to identify and inhibit primitive reflexes that remain active within the central nervous system. The way in which it achieves this is through a series of specialised, neuro-developmental movement patterns. These movements are contained within an ‘exercise programme.’