Primal Reflex Release Technique (PRRT)

Touch of Life Physical Services PRRT

The two Primal Reflexes that we are talking about are the withdrawal (nocioceptive) and the startle reflex. Both of these reflexes are hard wired into our central nervous system (CNS) and exist at birth. It has been found that these reflexes can be up regulated or heightened due to trauma, stress, pain, and disease. These reflexes can then tighten our joints and muscles and heighten our pain. This up regulation often leads to the use of compensatory movements which make it more difficult to perform everyday activities.PRRT is an advanced form of manual therapy that down regulates the autonomic nervous system that can become part of the joint and muscle restriction and ongoing pain. The technique helps the body trade pain for improved awareness by down regulation of the heightened reflexes thereby eliminating the compensatory movements and allowing greater ease and quality of motion.Once the history is taken, the patient is given a non-invasive exam to identify areas that are hypersensitive and elicit a response from the patient that is withdrawal and/or startle in nature. What is typically seen is a groan, gasp, or grimace in response to a trigger region being found. Once these areas are identified, the therapist knows better how to direct the technique to down regulate these reflexes.

The treatment is gentle and doesn’t hurt and usually produces very rapid results. The techniques are very different than traditional treatment received in therapy but much more effective and long lasting.

With this technique, we are treating at a deeper, more primal level of the CNS rather than the specific muscle, joint, or soft tissue that hurts. This works like a natural lubricant and make things happen quicker. Most patients that this is appropriate for are usually 50% improved after the first visit and usually no more than 3-4 visits are necessary to down regulate the reflexes. If the patient is not better by the third visit, the approach is probably not appropriate at the time for their pain and other avenues can be pursued.

Once the reflexes are down regulated, other traditional therapy treatments can be applied, if needed; but in many cases, PRRT is all that is necessary.

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