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Reflex therapy also an effective treatment

November 3, 2011
By STEPHEN ANDERSON - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HANCOCK - Many children experience learning challenges or developmental delays, and frustration can result for both the child and the parent. Reflex therapy, a relatively new alternative treatment for children, can often provide a solution to the problem.

"Reflexes are the foundation for all development. If there are issues with reflexes, it can create challenges," said Melissa Michaelson, a massage therapist (Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork) who owns Reflex Works in Hancock.

She is also four years into training in the Masgutova Neurosensorimotor Integration Method of reflex treatment, specializing in working with infants and young children.

"If a child doesn't like to do something, it usually, in my mind, is an indicator that they're working way too hard and they're compensating for something,"?Michaelson said. "Now let's see what we can find to unlock it so there's ease of learning and joy."

While the non-invasive treatment technique is not as mainstream as physical or occupational therapy, the concepts are similar and dig deeper into developmental foundations. Motor reflexes and underlying mechanisms play a key role in development, and minor adjustments to them can help alleviate conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder, anxiety, aggression and learning difficulties; along with some basic physical problems such as bedwetting in children.

"I think the bigger part of the picture is helping parents understand their child,"?Michaelson said. "Once you get a better understanding of what's underlying, there's a huge relief."

Sometimes issues can arise from birth complications, an urgent delivery or a Caesarean section, when reflexes are sometimes not initiated correctly. Even in a normal birth situation, improper development can take place, and the body compensates.

"I think we all have our own journey, but I do feel like the earlier you work with these things, the less compensation you learn that you have to unlearn," Michaelson said. "I just call this (MNRI Method) another tool, it's just another piece to the complex puzzle. ... It's not the cure-all, but it's one piece that may unlock what they need to take the next step in their development, and to unlock the potential for joy in learning."

Michaelson starts the treatment process with a basic assessment. After another follow-up visit or two, she can provide parents with instructions on how to work with their child at home through basic exercise movements that integrate and regulate reflexes.

"It's a tool in your toolbox to work through challenges with the hope of ease of forward movement, finding your next step," Michaelson said.

To set up an assessment with Michaelson, call 370-7125, and for more information on the MNRI Method, visit



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