The somatic system works with the central nervous system to moderate and coordinate innate and acquired reflexes as well as learned reflexive responses. As each reflexive somatic response emerges it qualitatively and quantitatively expands our ability to interact more efficiently and effectively with the world around us, expanding our repertoire to include simple to complex motor movements.

Structural Variations

Motor movement reflexes can be categorized according to the number and combination of muscles, joints, and limbs involved in executing a particular motor response. Somatic reflex categories include motor reflex actions, movements, patterns, and schemes. This structural characterization can be applied to all motor movement reflexes whether they are lifelong, primary, innate or acquired. Summarized below are the basic parameters used to define each of the structural reflex variations along with a table outlining the various ways in which less complex reflexes can function – independently and or as subordinate components of related, more complex innate reflexes, acquired reflexes, or learned reflexive responses.


Motor Reflex Actions Involve a single muscle and related joints, bones, tendons, ligaments and Fascia and are referred to as reflex actions. Examples: Knee jerk reflex and withdrawal reflex.

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Motor Reflex Movements Involve muscle groups and related joints, bones, tendons, ligaments and fascia; and are referred to as inter-joint reflex movements. Examples: Foot grasp reflex and Babinski reflex.

Motor Reflex Patterns Involve a combination of muscle groups and are considered inter-limb reflex patterns. Examples: Moro, Bauer crawling, and symmetrical tonic neck reflexes.

Motor Reflex Schemes Involve a combination of reflex movements and patterns and are considered whole-body reflex schemes. Examples: Rolling over, sitting up, walking and jumping.


Somatic Reflex Examples

Somatic reflex examples are included below for innate lifelong reflexes, primary infant motor reflexes, and lifelong reflex schemes.

Lifelong Reflexes:Gag Reflex A touch on the soft palate in the back of the mouth causes a contraction of the back of the throat that prevents something from entering the throat except as a part of normal swallowing. This reflex helps to prevent choking.

Palatal Reflex A touch on the roof of the mouth by the sucking tongue causes swallowing to occur (allowing baby to obtain nourishment).

Plantar Reflex A stroke along the side of the sole of the foot causes the foot to grasp, moving the toes toward the heel.

Withdrawal Reflex Sharp, sudden pain causes the affected arm or leg to be withdrawn.

Scratch Reflex An irritant to the skin causes scratching movement to relieve the itch.

See more: Elements On The Left Side Of The Periodic Table Are, The Periodic Table

For a more complete summary of lifelong reflexes go the online Medical Dictionary provided by The Free Dictionary through the following link: http://medicaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/reflex

Primary Infant Motor Reflexes:The following table summarizes the primary infant reflexes best known by health and wellness professionals and central to the MNRI Method and its complement of programs. The table summarizes the name of each primary infant motor reflex, when the reflex is first visibly apparent, and when the primary reflex integrates and is no longer actively present in its primary form. Click on the reflex name of interest for additional information a particular primary infant reflex, click on the reflex name of interest.


Primary Infanns Motor Reflex

Typical Emergence Primary Infant reflex response first apparent

Typical Integration Primary Infant Reflex no much longer triggered in response to triggering stimulus

Babkin Palmomental reflexWomb at 2 months4 months after birth
Robinson Grasp reflexWomb at 11 weeks12 months after birth
Tonic Labyrinthine reflexWomb at 3 months2-4 months after birth
Asymmetrical Tonic Neck reflex (ATNR)Womb at 3 months6-7 months after birth
Spinal Galant reflexWomb at 3-4 months5-9 months after birth
Symmetrical Tonic Neck reflex (STNR)Womb at 4 months10 months after birth
Leg Cross Flexion-Extension reflexWomb at 6 months1-2 months after birth
Hands Pulling reflexWomb at 6 months2 months after birth
Moro Embrace reflexWomb at 6 months3-4 months after birth
Bauer Crawling reflexWomb at 6 months4 months after birth
Hands Supporting reflex (Parachute)Womb at 6 months6 months after birth
Thomas Automatic GaitWomb at 8 months2 months after birth
Bonding reflexAt birth8-10 months after birth
Spinal Perez reflexAt birth2-3 years after birth
Babinski reflex1 week after birth1-2 years after birth
Trunk Extension reflex1 month after birth7-9 months after birth
Flying and Landing reflex1 month after birth1 year after birth
Pavlov Cognitive Orientation reflex1 month after birthLifelong reflex
Landau Reflex2-6 months after birth2-3 years after birth

Lifelong Reflex Schemes:Lifelong reflex schemes, the most complex of innate reflexes, include whole body movements that emerge across all population regardless of cultural, social, or environmental differences. Their successful function relies directly on the emergence, maturation, and integration of related primary motor infant reflexes and includes:


Rolling OverCrawlingWalkingSkippingJumping
Sitting UpStandingRunningHoppingClimbing