How MNRI® Method Works
The Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Reflex Integration (MNRI) process begins with a basic MNRI assessment to identify whether dysfunctional or deeper pathological automatic primary motor reflex patterns are present.
Once challenged reflex patterns are identified, an MNRI treatment plan is created and the integration process can begin. The information provided here is intended to provide a general overview of the terminology and steps important to understanding the basic MNRI assessment and integration process. If you are interested in learning more about the MNRI assessments and technique procedures, we encourage you to attend one or more of the MNRI continuing education courses, beginning with the foundation course, Dynamic and Postural Reflex Integration. While all MNRI courses are geared for professionals, parents and non-technical caregivers are welcome and quite often participate in classes. Participants learn how to complete a basic assessment and apply the restorative techniques through lecture, demonstration, and practical application.
The MNRI basic assessment is designed to determine the integration state of each primary motor reflex pattern. The first step is to simply determine if a primary motor reflex pattern is active (not integrated) or not (integrated). To determine the current reflex pattern state, a sensory stimulus (specific to each reflex) is applied and the resulting response is observed.
If there is no response, one of three circumstances may be true:
- The child is two months old or younger and the reflex is not yet expected to be present.
- The reflex pattern has emerged, matured, and integrated to become a subordinate part of a more complex automatic motor reflex scheme and learned motor skill.
- The reflex never emerged when it should have and needs to be activated and integrated.
The first two conditions are considered normal and no action is necessary. The second condition, when achieved, acts as a maturational milestone, ensuring subsequent normal maturation and development. The third condition, however, is considered out of the ordinary and requires the attention of MNRI restorative techniques.
If there is a response, one of three circumstances may be true:
- The child is three or under and the primary reflex pattern is expected to be active and present (based on the typical timetable) and does not require special attention at this time.
- The reflex, after having appropriately integrated, has re-surfaced and needs to be re-integrated.
- The reflex never integrated when it should have and needs to be integrated.
The first circumstance is considered normal, while the second and third require the attention of MNRI Method restorative techniques.
After completing an MNRI Method assessment, the state of each reflex pattern is characterized as functional, dysfunctional, or pathological. A functional reflex state indicates that the reflex is functioning as expected relative to the typical maturational timetable, i.e. the reflex pattern is present and active when it should be or appropriately integrated and not present as it should be. A dysfunctional state indicates that a reflex is actively present when it should not be, and a pathological state, more severe in nature than a dysfunctional state, indicates that a reflex motor response is:
- Reversed -- the opposite of what is expected,
- Incorrect – generating a response expected for some other stimulus, or
- A-reflexic -- generating no response at all, when it should.
Five parameters are used to evaluate the general functional state of each reflex pattern: pattern, direction, timing and dynamics, intensity, and symmetry. Below is a more complete explanation about the role of each parameter in determining the functional state of each reflex pattern.
Is the sensory stimulus leading to the correct response or sequence of responses? Normal functioning of each reflex pattern depends upon the appropriate coordination within the underlying neurosensorimotor mechanism. If the basic pattern is incorrect, the body is signaling that dysfunction or deeper pathology exists within some component of the reflex pattern’s underlying neurosensorimotor mechanism.
Is the reflex response occurring in the correct sequence and ending in the correct posture (static, postural reflexes) or direction of movement (dynamic reflexes)? Each reflex consists of a specific sequence of movements that culminate in a posture or are continued as movement in a specific direction. The muscle system coordinates these postures and movements.
Timing & Dynamics
Is the reflex response occurring immediately after the stimulus is elicited or is there a delay? The reflex circuit involves sensory input, brain processing, and motor response. The motor response must occur in a fraction of a second from the moment at which the sensory stimulation began. The reaction must occur within a very short time, and it must be quick because the purpose of a reflex is to protect.
Does the strength of the response reflect the intensity of the stimulus? The intensity of a reflex is represented by the amount of physical energy supplied by a system of muscles and ligaments in response to a stimulus. The strength of a response should reflex the intensity of the stimulus. Too much, too little, or no response are all inadequate responses.
Is the symmetry of response apparent in the body structure, the reflex motion, response time and intensity of the reaction? Motor reaction in a reflex circuit can be assessed by evaluating the bilateral structure of the body. Symmetry can be seen in the body structure, in the motion of a reflex, in the response time, and in the intensity of reaction.
Ideally, an MNRI Method assessment begins by inviting your child or client to assume the reflex position in which primary motor reflex pattern first emerged in infancy. Often pictures are used (from manual or support tools) to provide a better understanding of the desired position. If a child is too young to understand verbal directions, he is gently placed in position for the assessment to begin. Once in position, the basic elements of each reflex pattern is evaluated (using the five reflex parameters noted above), followed by an evaluation of the variant elements of the reflex pattern. Once basic and variant patterns have been evaluated, the state of each reflex pattern is determined, i.e. functional, dysfunctional or pathological. The assessment continues in this same fashion until the functional state of each primary motor reflex pattern has been determined. As Dr. Masgutova and many certified MNRI resources will attest, many children and older clients that seek an MNRI assessment, simply cannot or will not assume or maintain any position for long. While it can be challenging, certified MNRI resources who have participated in a number of MNRI Educational Family Conferences, have been taught by Dr. Masgutova how to complete assessments regardless of the unique physical, emotional and behavioral dynamics that may be present.
While every MNRI continuing education course provides the knowledge, demonstration, and hands-on practice important for students to understand how to complete a basic MNRI assessment, the knowledge to complete an advanced MNRI assessment develops only as MNRI resources reach higher MNRI certification levels through advanced subject coursework, MNRI Educational Family Conference training, and extensive clinical application. For children or older clients facing greater challenges, we encourage you to seek out the support of senior certified MNRI resources to ensure the unique nuances of your child’s situation are addressed in the final MNRI treatment plan.
The MNRI Integration Process
Individual MNRI treatment plans vary based on the unique circumstances faced by each individual. Each treatment plan consists of the set of primary motor reflex patterns found to be dysfunctional during an individual MNRI assessment and include reflexes that:
- Integrated when they were supposed to but subsequently re-surfaced and need to be re-integrated
- Did not integrate when they should have and need to be integrated
- Never emerged when they should have and need to be activated and integrated
MNRI treatment plans vary in complexity depending upon the number of reflexes included in the plan and the level of dysfunction present among the reflexes addressed in a particular plan. Regardless of the complexity, treatment plan priority is often given to working on reflexes with the greatest potential to impact positive functional change. Individual treatment sessions will often focus on a subset of reflexes to ensure that your child or client is not overwhelmed and that each reflex addressed in a particular session receives the rigorous attention necessary to impact change in the long run. While the specific MNRI techniques used to support the integration of each primary motor reflex is unique, the steps followed to during the integration process generally occur as outlined below.
- Sensory Motor Pairing
The process begins by pairing the appropriate reflex pattern sensory response with the appropriate motor response, modeling for the body the correct stimulus response relationship. The pairing is first completed for the basic elements of the reflex pattern, and then for the variant elements of the reflex pattern.
- Integrating Exercises
A set of integrating exercises are applied to train all active aspects of a reflex pattern:
• First working with the basic reflex pattern,
Generally steps one and two are repeated up to three times for each individual reflex addressed in a treatment session.
- Reassessment of Reflex State
A quick re-check of the reflex state is often done to assess progress made during reflex session.
• Next working against the basic reflex pattern, and
• Finally working with and against variants of the reflex pattern.
In general, MNRI Method techniques are relatively straightforward to implement whether in a clinic or home setting. It is very important, however, that you proceed with under the guidance of a certified MNRI resource or acquire formal training yourself to ensure the MNRI Method techniques are understood, applied correctly, and reinforced with the spectrum of knowledge only more extensive MNRI training can provide. While primary motor reflex patterns remain central to the MNRI Method, Dr. Masgutova has created a number of additional MNRI programs to reinforce and optimize the impact of the basic primary motor reflex integration techniques.