We were at the initial screening appointment for my son at Brain Fit Academy. My son was downstairs with one of the coaches and my husband and I were learning more about Brain Fit with Pam Formosa (the owner/director). She was teaching us about the some of the important aspects of Brain Fit.
Pam and I had already gone over a few things earlier in the appointment but my husband wasn’t in the initial conversation with us. So when it was time for Pam to talk about “muscle checking”, I was excited for my husband to learn about it. I think I said something to the effect of “Oh! Honey- wait until you see this!!”
Pam asked my husband to stand up and put both his arms straight out in front of him, relaxing the hands. She put 2-3 fingers lightly on his arms- just above the wrists. Pam then instructed my husband to hold his arms up and say “My name is- (his name)”. He did so, and while he did that, Pam pushed down with light pressure on his arms. The muscles in his arms “held” and she was not able to push them down.
Next, she asked him to say “My name is (Amy)” while still holding his arms up. Again, she pressed down gently on his arms. This time however, his arms gave way and dropped. “See?” I said “Isn’t that cool?”
“Wait- what?” he said. “Can we try that again?”
Pam repeated the procedure with another (false) statement and the same thing happened- his arms gave way.
In a nutshell, this is how muscle checking works. The muscles hold “strong” for true statements, and “give way” for false, or untrue statements.
Now, I realize that I went into more detail about muscle checking in the post “Trust the Process“- so if you want to know the science behind it, you can check that out. However, I feel like muscle checking is such an important part of Brain Fit that it was worth talking about again- hence this post.
As I have started to learn more and more about the work of Primitive Reflex Integration, I have seen that not everyone approaches the work the same way we do. Yes, there is a “timeline” or “template” (if you want to call it that) of reflexes and how babies should progress through the motor patterns. But really? There is so much overlap with them that it’s hard to pick one hard and fast pathway.
That’s where Brain Fit differs. Pam has always said that she believes that muscle checking is what helps set us apart from some other places that do reflex integration- and I do believe she is correct. Just like I talked about in “Trust the Process”, we don’t need to use the cognitive part of our brain to figure out what reflex is the correct one for that day- we tap into the subconscious instead.
And when you stop to think about it? Think about a baby. Do babies stop and cognitively process: Hey- I really think that today I should focus on the moro reflex– for example. No- of course not. It just happens!! It’s on a subconscious level. The body knows and it just happens.
So if we’re tapping into that same place- that same subconscious place that a child (or teen or adult!) needs to be in order to know what reflex to work on; to know what the body/brain need on that particular day- then muscle checking is the way to go.
When we first teach muscle checking to kids, or parents (or any of our clients) we often get similar reactions to my husband’s. Especially if it’s the person’s first experience with muscle checking.
We get the- “Wait- what?” or the “What? No way!” response.
I understand, I get it. Muscle checking can be hard to wrap your head around for some people.
But for me, when I get that “What? No way!” response? I teach the person the science around it- but you might also hear me saying something like- “Yes way! So cool, right??”
I say that because muscle checking is cool. It’s an amazing tool that helps us with our work at Brain Fit in tremendous ways.
And yes- maybe it is also one of the things that sets us apart.
Once you’re able to wrap your head around muscle checking and “Trust the Process”, you’ll probably agree how well it works, and understand why it plays such a big part in our program.
So, having said that- put away the “What? No way!” and join us at Brain Fit and go instead with “Wow, that is so cool!”.
You’ll be glad you did. Trust me.