The Method

The Method

Neuro-Structural Integration

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The MNRI Neuro-Structural Integration Program was created by Dr. Masgutova to address the stress response known as the Tendon Guard Reflex (TGR). Tendons consist of fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones. Tendons, muscles, and joints work together to provide structural support and flexibility in the body while accommodating a wide variety of outside forces during rigorous activity to rest. The TGR involves the tendon/muscle/joint system that spans from the tip of the big toe to the back of the head (starting with the big toe, continuing to the foot tendon, the Achilles tendon, hamstrings, sacrum, spine, various back and neck muscles to the back of the head). The TGR is a whole body reaction that helps mobilize the body for protection (through freeze, fight, and flight) and development (through pause, learn, and advance). Dr. Masgutova refers to the freeze and pause mechanisms as the Red Light TGR and the fight/flight protection mechanisms and learn/advance development mechanisms as the Green Light TGR.

Red Light TGR
The Red Light portion of the TGR causes the abdominal, shoulder, and neck muscles to contract preparing the body to deal with either an unexpected situation or a situation that requires intense focus. In either case, the body stops action, quiets itself, and prepares or focuses the ears and eyes to isolate details important to the situation. When mature, the Red Light TGR supports a person’s ability to narrow his field of attention, movement, and action so that he can critically pause to isolate details important to his task. When not mature, the Red Light TGR can result in either a hyper- or hypo-active response. A person with a hyperactive TGR is over-focused on unimportant details, can perseverate, or simply shut down or freeze. A person with a hypoactive TGR seems unaware that focused attention is needed and continues with whatever activity he is actively engaged in, remaining oblivious to any need relating to a looming danger or obligation.

Green Light TGR
The Green Light portion of the TGR causes spinal muscles to contract, lifting and extending the spine, and preparing the body for action. A baby activates his spinal muscles when learning to lift and right his head, arch his back, raise and stretch his legs and arms, and eventually stand and walk. The Green Light TGR works throughout this process to provide structural support and flexibility necessary to ensure protection and development. When mature, the Green Light TGR widens a person’s field of vision, movement and action, so that he can see the big picture and act with forethought -- allowing him to learn and advance. When not mature, the Green Light TGR can also result in either a hyper or hypoactive response. A person with a hyperactive Green Light TGR often acts without much forethought, can misread the situation, and respond impulsively, often resulting in a fight or flight reaction without much provocation. A person with a hypoactive Green Light TGR remains relatively nonresponsive to events and experiences that generally elicit action in others.

Body Symmetry & TGR Dysfunction
The MNRI Neuro-Structural Integration Program determines the current state of the TGR by assessing various aspects of body symmetry. Symmetry indicates that the TGR is matured and appropriately integrated, while asymmetry indicates TGR dysfunction. Asymmetry is often found when developmental and learning challenges are present. This is because ongoing challenges often cause chronic tension to build up in muscles and tendons. The Neuro-Structural Reflex Integration Program techniques are designed to reduce protective tension present in the body.

Neuro-Structural Treatment
The Neuro-Structural Reflex Integration Course is currently offered only in conjunction with the MNRI Educational Family Conference workshop. All MNRI certified students (Associate I and higher) are familiar with the Neuro-Structural Program techniques and have been trained to demonstrate program elements important to a home treatment plan for parents. Parents who do not have access to a local MNRI resource or are unable to attend an MNRI Educational Family Conference, are encouraged to participate in an MNRI Assessment Clinic (link each of these to the area within the “About Treatment” section that explains the function of each) to learn how to incorporate simple elements of the Neuro-structural Integration Program in a home treatment program. Specific reflexes and reactions addressed by the MNRI Neuro-Structural Program techniques are summarized below.

Primary Motor Reflex Patterns
Abdominal Bonding Spinal Galant Trunk Extension
Asymmetric Tonic Neck (ATNR) Moro Embrace Spinal Pereze  
Additional Motor Reflexes & Reactions
Abdominal Eyes Leveling Grounding Segmental Rolling
Balancing Eyes Tracking Head Righting Spine Expanding
Breathing Fear Paralysis Head Tilting Forward Spinning
Centering Grounding Head Up-Righting TMJ Leveling
Convergence-Divergence Foot Tendon Guard Locomotion Vestibular Leveling
Core Tendon Guard Gravity