I went along to a business networking meeting on Tuesday. I thought it would possibly be a good place to spread the word and also find people to help me with things like printing flyers, graphic design and perhaps even some social media help.
What I wasn’t prepared for was telling people what I “do” in a minute! I then had to do an elevator pitch on the spot. Silly me!
When people ask what I do, some think it’s some sort of wacky alternative therapy. Some think it’s massage. Some think I’m somehow conveying energy or something like that to “recipients”. I don’t do ANY of these things, and to me, neuro-developmental therapy is anything but alternative! In fact, it’s something that could save squillions – if our health service would only adopt it.
So, what do I actually do, then?
Neuro-developmental therapy is a very gentle, movement-based, non-talking therapy, which gradually reduces social, emotional, behavioural and sensory challenges.
I work with central nervous systems and brains! I give the central nervous system and brain a second chance to develop typically if there has been a glitch in development.
Our development is like a very complex chain reaction: If a foetus’ development is interrupted in utero or during childbirth by some kind of stress/trauma, or a new-born’s development is interrupted by restricting movement or by some trauma, the next link in the chain cannot be completed, so neural connections are not as efficient as they would be without the interruption.
I work to help primitive reflexes to integrate. These are the reflexes we are all born with, which should have disappeared in the first two years of our lives, as we progress through the “typical” milestones, such as rolling, sitting, crawling, etc, within the “typical” window of development. If we do not integrate these primitive reflexes, they remain “retained” in our systems, and cause emotional, behavioural and learning challenges throughout life.
What this means going forward is that a person will have challenges – some noticeable and some that they are able to compensate for. As a matter of fact, most people have several glitches in their development that are not obvious to the untrained eye, but it is worth mentioning that our behaviour and personalities are shaped by our reflex profiles.
I work towards integration using foetal and newborn movement patterns, which mimic primitive reflex patterns, giving us a second chance to create the brain connections we should have created first time around.
To give just a few examples:
- Someone who blames everyone else for everything: nothing is ever down to them… These people have a strong Moro reflex. They act without speaking and cannot regulate their emotions. People with sensory issues tend to have a strong Moro reflex. These people should steer clear of social media, as they get into arguments about trivial things
- People who cannot accept any other point of view, can’t see anything other than black or white and go into a sulk when they don’t get their way more than likely have a strong Fear Paralysis reflex
- Someone with extreme anxiety and/or depression is more than likely to have a very strong fear paralysis reflex. These people are living in survival mode all the time and withdraw from stressful situations
- People presenting with specific learning difficulties will more than likely have a reflex that relates to left/right hemisphere integration
- Those with a very weak core, hypermobility and who fatigue easily have probably still got reflexes active from the time they learnt to roll, sit, crawl and walk, and have not yet developed adult postural reflexes
So… how do I do help?
I carefully observe my clients. I look at everything. Even how someone expresses themselves, eye contact, gestures, gait, the way they sit… I get children to draw a picture for me, and notice whether they are left or right handed, how they hold a pencil, what colours they use, how their pencil control and colouring is… after observing, I will home in on a few reflexes that I want to assess. I’ll then get my client to do some work with me, which involves a series of rhythmic and pre-birth movements and pressures that I get the client to resist.
Sometimes I can get a person to notice differences almost immediately. Sometimes it takes months of peeling back layers to get to the root of a problem.
This is not magic. It won’t work as well for one person as it will for another. However, it’s worth a try.
In the future, it is my dream to get the NHS to recognise neuro-developmental therapy as a way to help children (and adults), but in the meantime, you can visit me at my clinics in Surrey and Sussex.
They say that if you find a job you love, you’ll never work another day. For me and my colleagues specialising in neuro-developmental therapy, this cannot be more true. I feel that I’ve found my vocation: seeing people transform through movement is the most rewarding experience I could ever wish for.