Spinal Reflex Therapy (SRT) is based around a defensive reflex called the Spondylogenic Reflex. This reflex is the first defensive reaction the body uses when dealing with the unseen to start the body moving away from danger. It occurs before the brain has had time to monitor for itself what action it will take to “Fight or Flight”.
Each vertebrae will set off a different spondylogenic reflex pattern. For instance, a golf ball to the back of the upper neck will usually set off hip flexors to make you bend forward and away from the impact. It can be triggered by almost anything that is outside your Field of Vision, i.e. impact (golf ball, punch etc), noise (car horn, scream, growl, falling bricks, etc), sensations (tickle, crawling spider, ice-water prank, etc) or emotions (painful flashback, betrayal, emotional abuse, etc).
It is meant to be a split second reflex reaction to get you moving away from danger, but can also be triggered by restricted vetebrae, in which case those associated muscle fibres get “stuck” on. Kind of like microphone or guitar feedback. Repetitive positioning can be just as much to blame as trauma.
Symptoms other than muscle/joint pain may result. They range from anxiety, indigestion, sciatica, eye-ache, sinus pressure, headaches, bladder/urinary tract infections, erectile dysfunction, nausea, bloating, asthma, reflux, diarrhoea, plantar fasciitis amongst others.
SRT aims to identify if a reflex is “stuck” and where on the spine it is originating from. It then aims to calm the Central Nervous System to release these fibres. Sometimes the release is instant, other times it is layered, wherein a presenting reflex is released, yet a secondary underlying reflex may be exposed needing further treatment/release. When this is the case, old or new symptoms that were not apparent recently may resurface. Ideally, a few followup treatments are suggested to prevent the return of symptoms and ensure that the reflex is well and truly responding as it should and not in danger of getting “stuck” again. Usually, SRT is integrated with massage but can be stand-alone.
Simon Gunn is a Remedial Massage Therapist who specialises in SRT.
Category: Spinal Reflex