Alison Hazelbaker, PhD, IBCLC, FILCA, CST-T, RCST (614) 326-3504

Dr. Hazelbaker specializes in cross-disciplinary treatment and to that end has taken training in several modalities to best assist her clients. She is a certified Craniosacral Therapist, a Lymph Drainage Therapy practitioner, and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Rhythmic Movement Training

Dr. Harald Blomberg, a Swedish psychiatrist, and Moira Dempsey, an Australian Educational and Developmental Kinesiologist, formalized the work of Ms. Kerstin Linde, a  Swedish movement training specialist, and began to teach it as a process for resolving or mitigating a wide range of learning, psycho-emotional, and movement problems.

According to the Rhythmic Movement Training (RMT) website  “RMT integrates the retained, or underdeveloped, infant reflexes (also called primitive reflexes or neo-natal reflexes) that are involved in learning challenges such as ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, writing problems, focusing and comprehension challenges, co-ordination difficulties and Asperger’s Syndrome. It has also been successful in working with people with anxiety, panic, emotional imbalances, behavioural problems, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, psychosis, PTSD and general overwhelm.”

The primitive reflex movements lay down “the foundations of neural network pathway growth and myelination in the brain. They are also important for establishing head control, muscle tone and posture, the basis of our ability to move through life with ease and choice. Primitive (infant) Reflexes are repetitive, automatic movements that are essential for development of head control, muscle tone, sensory integration and development. They form the basis of the postural, lifelong reflexes. These primitive reflexes surface in utero and infancy and become inhibited as the movements do their job and movements become more practiced and controlled. When a baby has been given the opportunity to develop freely and naturally the primitive reflexes will integrate and no longer be active. When the primitive reflexes remain active then many difficulties can emerge.

From very early on in utero, the primitive reflex movements literally help develop the brain. The movements lay down the patterns of neural networks and myelinisation of pathways that allow the connection of the various areas of the brain that are so important later on for learning, behaviour, communication, relationships and emotional well-being.”

Integration of the primitive reflexes is important because:

  • They are the basis of the nervous system and the ability to move.
  • They originate in the brain stem. This area of the brain is responsible for survival. People remain in the survival-stress state when reflexes are unintegrated.
  • As people age, their unintegrated reflexes trigger the flight/flight response even when there is no ‘logical' reason for the stress. So stressed behaviour becomes a pattern of responding.
  • When movements come from active primitive reflex movement patterns then there are challenges with coordination. This can lead to reading and writing difficulties; language and speech delays; disorganisation; fidgeting; concentration deficits, etc. Other challenges may be seen in poor bladder control; breathing difficulties; skin problems; and having an uncontrollable sweet tooth.
  • Unintegrated reflexes lead to low muscle tone; muscle weakness; chronic body aches; poor endurance; and fatigue.

Unintegrated, active primitive reflexes may be caused by:

  • Stress of the mother and/or baby during pregnancy, birth trauma, caesarean birth, induced birth
  • Compromised birth presentation position (posterior, breech, asynclitic)
  • Lack of proper movement in infancy: being placed in baby walkers/rings, jumpers, being left for long periods of time in car seats/baby capsules, and being placed in front of TV in bouncers all restrict critical movements required for brain development
  • Illness
  • Trauma
  • Injury
  • Chronic stress
  • Environmental toxins,
  • Complications with vaccinations
  • Dietary imbalances or sensitivities
  • Allergies

Reflexes that are inhibited and integrated in infancy can later reactivate because of trauma, injury, toxins and stress.

 Adapted from the RMT website: