The formal roots of the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) Method began with Dr. Masgutova in 1989. However, the knowledge the method is based upon traces back more than a century, across a broad range of disciplines and a number of notable researchers.
Unique Educational Interest
Dr. Masgutova developed a strong interest in reflex maturation and development during her university education in Russia. This fascination became the motivation for her graduate thesis, “Unconditioned reflexes, unconscious processes and personalities.” Dr. Masgutova’s thesis drove her to investigate all available historical information about reflexes, significant portions of which remained available only in Russian until the late 1900’s. Her investigation led her to study the work of reflex and development pioneers, whom she now attributes as providing the theoretical basis of the MNRI Method. These researchers include: I. Sechenov, C. Sherrington, L. Vigotsky, A. Luria, A. Leontyev and others.
Ufa: The Pivotal Event
Having completed her Doctorate degree in Developmental Psychology, Dr. Masgutova was just beginning her career as a post graduate instructor and researcher when she volunteered to treat the survivors of the Ufa train disaster (Russia, 1989). When faced with the overwhelming task of helping physically and emotionally traumatized children, Dr. Masgutova quickly concluded that a cognitive approach would be insufficient to reach the traumatized children. The Ufa disaster demonstrated first hand for Dr. Masgutova the dysfunction and pathology that can result in the aftermath of extreme trauma. The surviving children were severely wounded and burned but they also had deep emotional distress as well. Many children had witnessed horrendous injury and death of friends and family, leaving them traumatized, generally non-responsive, and as Dr. Masgutova learned, with many primary reflex motor patterns actively present.
At Ufa, Dr. Masgutova developed real-time techniques that acted to drop the protective guard present in each child’s body. Her approach paid off as the children began to reconnect with the world. Dr. Masgutova remained with the children for months as each child proceeded through his difficult recovery. Their progress was so noticeable that other areas in the hospital became interested in her work. Dr. Masgutova’s burgeoning integration techniques were therefore used with adult survivors as well.
The knowledge base Dr. Masgutova accessed through her education and in her later studies is not only broad, spanning from physiology, neurology, and psychology to audiology, ophthalmology, and more, but also deep, as she drew from resources ahead of their time, with most making notable breakthroughs in and out of their respective fields during their lifetimes. As a Russian student, Dr. Masgutova not only had access to information from the broader world arena, but she also had access to research that, until recently, was available only in Russian. This made her investigation of the subject of reflexes far more comprehensive than it might have been had she not been in Russia. It is easy to see how Dr. Masgutova so quickly became an expert in a subject area that seems so new to the rest of the world – she had unique access to Russian research and she experienced an extreme environment with the children in Ufa.
Dr. Masgutova has held true to her promise to make the study of reflexes the focus of her life work as she continues to evolve her comprehensive set of MNRI restorative techniques.
The most valuable part of this experience was learning how to do the therapy myself, and be able to continue this program at home...