What is SMA and the 3 Reflexes

We help people learn to move and live ‘somatically’

What is Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA)?

SMA is when our muscles are unconsciously held tight; it is like a ‘blind spot’ in our awareness and control of them. This tightness, or SMA, happens even though we are not aware of it, because we cannot feel what we are not aware of, and we cannot change what we cannot feel. When our brain no longer has conscious control of our muscles, we cannot voluntarily relax them. SMA may show up as pain, limited movement or postural issues and misalignments.

We all experience SMA and it can happen for many reasons. It can be the result of trauma, either through physical injury, emotional or psychological stress. It can occur through repeated and habituated movement patterns, such as playing a sport (particularly one sided sports) or musical instrument. It could even develop from everyday occurrences like sitting for hours on the sofa, at a desk, in a car, or how you repeatedly stand at the kitchen sink whilst peeling potatoes or washing up!

Somatic movement education enables you to identify and address your SMA. In doing so you restore your brain to muscle connections so that you have full and conscious control off your whole system. This leads to more control and freedom around how you move and over all how you live your life.

The Reflexes

We all experience these reflexes; they help us to move forward in life, protect ourselves and live in a balanced and efficient way. Difficulties occur when we get ‘stuck’ in them. This affects our ability to move freely as well as affecting how we sense ourselves and how we view and interact with the world. Below is a brief description of reflexes that we address in somatic movement education.

Red light reflex

Red Light Reflex

This is our fear and protective reflex and involves a tightening of the front of the body, resulting in a slumped posture and rounded shoulders. The red light reflex may become habituated as a result of hours sitting on the sofa, at a desk or in a car. Feelings around insecurity, anxiety, depression, emotional stress and grief may also contribute.

If we get ‘stuck’ in this reflex we may experience issues around shallow breathing, neck and shoulder pain, headaches, low energy levels, knee pain, digestive issues and lower back pain to name a few.

Green Light Reflex

Green Light Reflex

The green light reflex is our ‘get up and go’ reflex and involves a tightening of the muscles through the back of the body. When the green light reflex is habituated, we cannot relax our back muscles. This can lead to back pain including bulging / herniated discs, sciatica, shoulder and neck pain and tension headaches to name a few. Someone who gets ‘stuck’ in the green light reflex may have a lot on their plate, feel stressed, struggle to switch off or suffers with poor sleep.

Trauma Reflex

Trauma Reflex

The trauma reflex is our ‘avoiding’ or ‘cringing’ away reflex and involves a tightening of one side of the body. If you’ve ever stepped on a sharp object you will have experienced this. This can become habituated through injury or accidents, one sided repetitive movement such as racket sports or habits like always standing on one leg.

If we get ‘stuck’ in our trauma reflex we may experience shoulder and neck pain, knee pain, SI joint issues, scoliosis, disc bulges and apparent leg length discrepancies to name a few.

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