More Than Anxiety

Ep 90 - Using Movement to Integrate Primitive Reflexes With Niki Glynn

May 28, 2024 Megan Devito Episode 90
Ep 90 - Using Movement to Integrate Primitive Reflexes With Niki Glynn
More Than Anxiety
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More Than Anxiety
Ep 90 - Using Movement to Integrate Primitive Reflexes With Niki Glynn
May 28, 2024 Episode 90
Megan Devito

Welcome Niki McGlynn to the podcast. Niki is a neurodevelopment therapist and ADHD coach, and in this episode she shares her wisdom on how retained primitive reflexes, like the Moro reflex, play a huge role in adult anxiety.

Niki talks about how integrating these involuntary movement patterns can lead to incredible relief for people struggling with anxiety, ADHD, etc.

Niki also shares how each individual experiences traumatic events differently, and the concept of inherited trauma  and how that can shadow families for generations.

Additionally, we talk about the connection between movement and mental health in kids and teens, that movement can be simple, that it doesn't require a class,  and she shares pointers on accessing the right support and resources so you can get started.

Enjoy the episode.

You can connect with Niki on Instagram or visit her website.

Help others find this resource so they can calm, confident, and have more fun by leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review wherever you listen.

Find me on Instagram
Find me on Facebook
Schedule your consultation and let's talk coaching!

Thanks for listening!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome Niki McGlynn to the podcast. Niki is a neurodevelopment therapist and ADHD coach, and in this episode she shares her wisdom on how retained primitive reflexes, like the Moro reflex, play a huge role in adult anxiety.

Niki talks about how integrating these involuntary movement patterns can lead to incredible relief for people struggling with anxiety, ADHD, etc.

Niki also shares how each individual experiences traumatic events differently, and the concept of inherited trauma  and how that can shadow families for generations.

Additionally, we talk about the connection between movement and mental health in kids and teens, that movement can be simple, that it doesn't require a class,  and she shares pointers on accessing the right support and resources so you can get started.

Enjoy the episode.

You can connect with Niki on Instagram or visit her website.

Help others find this resource so they can calm, confident, and have more fun by leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review wherever you listen.

Find me on Instagram
Find me on Facebook
Schedule your consultation and let's talk coaching!

Thanks for listening!

Megan Devito:

Welcome to the More Than Anxiety Podcast. I'm Megan Devito and I help ambitious women break out of the anxiety cycle that keeps them frustrated and stuck. Get ready for a lighthearted approach that will change what you think, how you feel and what you believe about yourself. This podcast is full of simple steps, a lot of truth, talk and inspiration to take action so you walk away feeling confident, calm and ready to live. Let's get to it.

Megan Devito:

Hey there, welcome to Episode 90 of the More Than Anxiety Podcast. My name is Megan and I'm super excited to have you here this week. Whether you're watching on YouTube or you are listening driving down the road in your car or wherever, and whenever you listen to your podcasts, it's fantastic to have you back or here for the first time. This week. I'm going to interview Niki McGlynn. Nikki is a neurodevelopment therapist and an ADHD coach. She works with people regarding retained primitive reflexes and she specializes in trauma.

Megan Devito:

I will admit that I do not know what a retained primitive reflex is and I'm super excited to learn right along with you. She talks about how these retained fear reflexes stop people from feeling safe in this crazy world that we live in. So I think it's going to be a fantastic episode. Enjoy, and I will talk to you again next week, if not before. Enjoy the episode. Hey everybody, thank you for joining me for episode 90. I am so excited to get this episode started. You just heard the introduction, so we are going to jump right in and we're going to talk today with Niki McGlynn. So, Niki, please tell us about yourself and thank you so much for being here, and I'm going to let you just run with it to start with.

Niki McGlynn:

Oh, it's my pleasure. Thanks for having me on, Megan. So my name is Niki McGlynn. I'm a neurodevelopment therapist and ADHD coach and, as you can probably tell, I'm based in the UK.

Megan Devito:

Yeah, great, and so you are a therapist, not a coach. I get lots of coaches on, but I love that I get a therapist perspective. This is going to be so good so that we can kind of talk about I don't know. I get a lot of questions about are you a therapist? And I'm like, absolutely not, I'm not a therapist, I'm a coach, and they're very different. But tell me a little bit about what you do as a therapist, because I'm very interested in the idea of primitive reflexes and what that means. So what tell me about your therapy practice?

Niki McGlynn:

So so I I work face to face, I don't work online, so people come to me here, um, and I assess where uh people have reflexes retained. So historically, uh, retained reflexes were seen as an issue for children, but actually it can affect everybody at any age, and particularly adults with anxiety. Often that's a retained reflex issue. So I work a lot with people who are dealing with trauma and often retained reflexes are sort of the hidden key to improving trauma recovery.

Megan Devito:

So when you say say reflex, my initial thought is a reflex, uh, as if you went to the doctor and they tap your knee and your foot swings out and that sort of reflex, which I know is not what you're talking about. But when you say, well, maybe it is. Go ahead tell me what you mean. Like, when you say reflex, for everyone who's listening and for my own curiosity. Okay, what reflexes are you referring to?

Niki McGlynn:

So I'm talking about, essentially, I'm talking about primitive reflexes, although sometimes we work with uterine reflexes, sometimes work with postural reflexes. But, but reflexes, however they present in your body, are movement patterns that you don't have any control over. So so when the doctor hits your knee with a hammer and your leg flings patterns that you don't have any control over it, that's a reflex. But it's just a different sort of reflex. You know, like if you touch something that's really hot and your, your hand, pulls away, that's a reflex. If you blink, it's a reflex.

Niki McGlynn:

But I'm talking about primitive reflexes. So essentially it's the same kind of principle, but but but primitive reflexes are developmental. So they are developmental movement patterns that allow your central nervous system to develop as it should. And what they should do is they should be active for a certain period of time. So you move in a particular way for a certain period of time to allow that part of your central nervous system to mature, and then they should integrate into your central nervous system and lie dormant unless you need them again. And the issue that we have is when those reflexes aren't able to express themselves fully, so they remain active in your system and cause you problems.

Megan Devito:

Okay, that clears some things up for me. So now I'm imagining that it would be more like a startle reflex in an infant, where maybe the arms go out

Niki McGlynn:

That's the only primitive reflex anybody's ever heard of, but that is your moro reflex and that remains. That remains active in your system.

Megan Devito:

Okay, I feel really smart right now just for actually coming up with one. Then I'm like okay, so I'm picturing when my babies were babies then and they're not anymore what they would do, and it's that, it's a Cabbage Patch reflex, right where we throw our arms out. Okay, so those primitive reflexes, which should eventually disappear as we understand that not everything is a drop, everything is a breath or something like that. Very, very good, okay. So what got you into this? Because there's so many different kinds of therapy, what got you into this type of therapy?

Niki McGlynn:

So my daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia when she was 12. I was 40. So, and I saw that she was going to have the same experience at school that I was going to have, and I didn't. I didn't want that for her. So I went looking specifically for something that would help her and sort of discovered this whole world of of neurodevelopment work that can make a real difference. And at the time I was already working with a lot of children who were um, uh, who were dealing with things like autism and ADHD. So to me then it was like a real light bulb moment of hold on a second, this can really help my existing time and place. And it's just.

Niki McGlynn:

You know, sometimes you come across something that really, really grabs your attention, your imagination. And, I think, also having discovered it and realizing that nobody else knows about it, nobody knows about it and it's really, really fundamental and an increasing problem. So, you know, it's something that I now feel really passionate about and why I'm really grateful that I can come on your podcast and talk to other people to try and just raise awareness that this is something that's a problem, it's something you can do something about. You know whether whether your children are struggling or whether you're struggling yourself, it doesn't have to, just you know, there isn't only medication or nothing. There is this, this whole system of movement therapy. It's very accessible, it's very simple and it can really really help.

Megan Devito:

o when you're talking about at first of all, I love that you have the intersection of ADHD and anxiety. It's something that I've talked a lot about, um, especially with I recently mentioned on my podcast that my son, who was 17 recently, we we took him to the doctor and they diagnosed him with ADHD, which he has been telling me forever, he can't focus and I you would think - I was a teacher for 20 years I'm like, dude, I've watched you, I've seen you focus. Um, no, I was anyways, I had it all wrong. And so I'm curious when you talk about the reflexes that you see with something like ADHD or with anxiety, is there also intersection with those reflexes where you have to sort out? Maybe this is an ADHD reflex or this is an anxiety reflex. Can you give examples

Niki McGlynn:

Often they have they have the same root. So when we look at reflexes, they kind of fall into groups. There's the fear reflexes, which really underpins so many neurodevelopmental issues, and so the fear reflexes, the fear paralysis reflex, which shuts everything down. So things like selective mutism is a fear paralysis reflex response. And then the moro reflex, which we've already mentioned, excites the system. So that's your fight-flight response.

Niki McGlynn:

So if you know anything about polyvagal theory, then freeze and flop are fear paralysis reflex responses, fight-flight are moro reflex responses. And also with the moro reflex you've got that sort of gasp that we've already talked about. But what follows on from that is a clinging and crying. So so there's two parts to that. So if you see that a baby do that, they do that gasp, and then they'll, and then you, then they'll cry, and then you pick them up and they cling on to you and you rock them oh really sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you and there's two. So there's two parts to that reflex, because there's two parts to that. There's two parts that respond, but there's two parts that reflex.

Niki McGlynn:

So so, and what those fear reflexes do is they don't make you frightened when you get beyond that baby stage. They don't make you frightened, but they'll stop you feeling safe. So when you think about how anxiety presents, it is that sense of being unsafe in the world, and that's why reflexes and understanding reflexes are so important, because it's a reflex response Like it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter how many times you check the front doors locked, it doesn't matter how many times somebody says to you look, it will be fine, just pull yourself together. It's a reflex like blinking. You can't control it. It's part of your survival instinct. So it's a. It's an important thing to understand that actually, if, if your fear paralysis reflex is active or your moro reflex is active, you're not going to feel safe in the world and then, because these are so developmentally, you know it's in theory it should happen and then integrate into your nervous system and then you should be fine.

Megan Devito:

Is that also a way to because I know dealing with past trauma, if you're looking at trauma and that, is that also a way to pinpoint oh, something happened at this point in your development that caused you to get stuck in that state absolutely. Or is it something where it could reactivate later?

Niki McGlynn:

And later on it can reactivate. So PTSD can be a reactivated moro reflex. So, yeah, so a lot of the time when we're working with when I'm working with reflexes, then you know I want to know what happened during pregnancy. I want to know what happened during pregnancy. I want to know what happened during birth. I want to know what happened in that early stage of life. So if mum, if so, if you, if you are an anxious mother, then you are likely to then have an anxious baby because of that environment in the womb. And that's not to blame anxious mothers at all. You know we are who we are, but it's understanding that we can do something about it.

Niki McGlynn:

If you had a really traumatic birth, then then that is likely to then have a follow-on effect and then create the the environment for those reflexes to struggle to integrate, because a lot of those reflexes are associated with the birthing process. So so the moro reflex is that first gasp for breath is all about that moro reflex. So, um, spinal gland reflex, which is one of the sort of main adhd reflexes that we think of, that's part of the birthing process. The two main neck reflexes are part of the birthing process. So if you are born by cesarean section or you have a very protracted labor or very short labor or ventus or forceps, then that interferes with that natural delivery process and then that can then then cause problems with reflexes.

Megan Devito:

I think that is so fascinating With so many people who I work with from a coaching perspective. One of the things that they ask it's like or even my mom asking me, what did I do? And I'm like I don't think you did anything. Nothing, it's like nothing intentional. She's like I'm sorry, what did I do? I'm like I don't think you did anything. Nothing like nothing intentional. She's like I'm sorry, what did I do? I'm like nothing, you're fine. Like it wasn't an intentional thing.

Megan Devito:

So when we talk about because I think trauma is one of those words that we're finally understanding that everybody has it and I feel like, I love that you mentioned that in the birthing process, your mother was not trying to traumatize you, she was just trying to get you out. And when we talk about trauma and where this comes from, can you just give a quick definition that will be far better than anything I've explained? When I'm like, look, this is what trauma is from a therapeutic standpoint or from you know, just from your perspective, when you talk about trauma and we talk about the things that cause trauma, what are the things that most often show up for you? Because obviously we have the big T traumas right. Like we know that if your house burned down around you, that's going to be a major trauma. But what about the people like me who are like I got nothing ?

Niki McGlynn:

Well, I think I think there is this thing is that you, you have the big red line traumas where everybody goes. Oh yes, but there's a difference between something that is traumatic and something that is trauma. So if you have, say, you have a car accident and you know you, you hit another car and you get out and you're in a terrible state and somebody comes over and gives you a hug and you have a little cry and they rock you and and, and that is a traumatic event but that you'll probably get over and be okay. But if you have a car accident, then you hit another car and you get out the car and the other guy gets out and he shouts at you and you're there in the middle of the road and you're shaking and crying and everybody's looking at you and you've, you know you, and there's no way of being able to process what's happened. That then becomes trauma and that can be big trauma or little trauma or lots and lots of repeated trauma.

Niki McGlynn:

You know, we know now the difference between trauma and complex trauma. So complex trauma is when lots of things happen. It's usually interpersonal. So you grew up in a difficult household or you're bullied at school or you know, all of these things that can happen, bullied at work, so so that can create complex trauma. And then we also know that you've got inherited trauma.

Niki McGlynn:

So if and I think we've it's been traced back to three generations, that they know that you can inherit trauma from three generations back, but so that's a that's a whole nother slide, you know, then it's in your DNA. And then, similarly, if you have an anxious mother, then it's very likely that you will be an anxious baby and an anxious child, because that's the environment which you develop in, with all of those extra circulating hormones. So there's lots and lots of ways. You know, and I was talking to somebody recently and he was saying well, according to you, everybody's traumatized. Well, I think that's the world we live in. You know. I don't think society is set up terribly well for people to deal with their trauma. Plus, we've all lived through two world wars and all the other stuff that's gone on you know, there's a.

Niki McGlynn:

There's a lot that that we are dealing with in the 21st century, when we are essentially still caveman brains. So aren't we all dealing with trauma? I think to a greater or lesser extent, yes, but this is a bit. It's a bit that sort of high level thing, isn't it where people say, oh, everybody's got ADHD nowadays. No, everybody doesn't have ADHD nowadays, but there's a.

Niki McGlynn:

The way we bring our children up now makes those ADHD symptoms more apparent. I don't think more people have it, but I think the way we bring our children up now makes the symptoms more obvious. We have a better understanding of ADHD in women and girls, and how society is doesn't really allow for people to be maybe as individual as perhaps they used to have been, you know, and not that long ago. If you were an ADHD type person, then you might have gone and worked in the fields, or you might have gone and worked as a blacksmith, or you might have gone and done you know, one of the other crafts or trades that have disappeared. Nowadays, everybody's pretty much expected to go work in an office, and that doesn't work for you if you're a ADHD type person that's so good to know and people trying to.

Megan Devito:

It's the idea of the square peg in the round hole and this, this idea that this person, who I think we put so much value on those jobs, like, oh, this person was CEO, this person was doing this and this, but what about that person that really has this brilliant mind that just, I think, in terms of ADHD, yeah, if you are trying to sit down and you're trying to work spreadsheets and things like that, your mind's not designed for that, but to be able to go out and be like but look at these things that I can just excel at and do wonderfully, that, yeah, maybe I do have ADHD, maybe I do have this thing, but, man, I can knock this off, I can do this, I can do all these things and move, and it's not such a problem.

Megan Devito:

And we do like, and we see it so much on, you know, on threads or wherever we are, where people talk about, oh, this and this and this, and I have, you know, I'm, I've got ADHD and this and I just keep trying to do this and I want to go. Maybe you're trying to do the wrong thing. Maybe you're trying to look at you know what? What do you really want to do? Where, where are you drawn? And to look at how would that work out differently? Like how can we make that work? But that idea that we don't always have to have fit this, whatever our cultural standard of this, is what the ideal brain does, and this idea of neurodivergency and everybody's different, and my thought on that isn't that there aren't neurotypical or divergent people, but that we all find off like we're all on that divergent scale a little bit, because that's assuming that there's a normal to me, like what are your thoughts on that?

Niki McGlynn:

I've never met anyone normal and in fact, often when I'm in a consultation and people say well, you know, normal people do this and I said well, in 20 years being a therapist, I've not met anybody normal yeah, 20 years of teaching and I'm like not one normal brain in this room ever.

Niki McGlynn:

You're all doing it differently and of course, the thing about it is is that is that we look at. You know, all the thought leaders, all the people who have changed the world have all been neurodiverse, you know. Hurrah, all the entertainers are all neurodiverse. Hurrah you know probably the majority of sports people are all neurodiverse.

Niki McGlynn:

Hurrah. The problem is is for the, is for the, the kids and the normal people who are struggling, who don't have some amazing talent, who aren't going to change the world. They're, you know, they're the people where you say, oh well, neurodiversity is a superpower. Well, it's not for them. You know, they're the people who can't get to school on time, can't get to work on time, can't organize themselves, you know, and often stare addiction in the face because it's the only way of getting any sort of respite. And particularly, I think, where it's taken so long to understand the implications of living with ADHD and to get proper diagnosis and proper treatment. You know how many people who have been written off as being addicts and useless and lazy and all of those terrible things that we attribute to people, actually just had undiagnosed ADHD, had undiagnosed ADHD.

Megan Devito:

Yeah, yeah. And how quickly and easily that. I mean just in my own, my own family. How quickly just that diagnosis. And it was one day of like let's try this medicine. And he's calling me and saying, 'mom, I did all of my math in class today'. He's like I've never done that before in my whole life and I'm like, yeah, that's great and it was that simple. And now working on those skills to create the routines and because he can, now he can create the routines.

Megan Devito:

So do you notice that when you're working with someone, whether it's ADHD or it's anxiety or any other sort of diagnosis, but do you notice that once you get to the root of whatever the reflex is, or once you add, I know that for me or for him having that medication there to be able to create those new habits or maybe to work on those reflexes, is that something that you like, how do you deal with the progress of your therapy? Or how do you say, okay, well, we're going to start, we're starting with this diagnosis. How do you move them through that progression in your therapy?

Niki McGlynn:

Okay, so so I don't diagnose. I only, I only identify where reflexes are retained.

Niki McGlynn:

So sometimes people come with a diagnosis. I have a diagnosis of ADHD, autism, whatever. And we know that ADHD is often comorbid with other diagnoses as well, so that's fine. So people come and I see people with or without a diagnosis. I'm not interested particularly in their diagnosis. I'm interested in kind of what's difficult in their lives, what they're struggling to deal with and how do we make that better. So that's really what I'm identifying. You know, is it focus and concentration? Is it emotional regulation? Is it? You know, can they not ride a bicycle? You know, whatever it is that's causing them problem, whatever their, their pain point is, I suppose that's what we focus on.

Niki McGlynn:

And then it's reflexes, a movement pattern. So we do movement programs to encourage those reflexes to integrate. So we start very gently. Some people have very, very sensitive central nervous systems, so we have to start really slowly and we start with gentle movements and see how they respond and see how quickly things start to change and then we, we essentially progress. So I, in an ideal world, we start with with with them being rocked so they lie on the floor and their parent or their partner or whoever rocks them just gently, gently, to encourage that central nervous system to make the connections it needs to make, and then they'll rock themselves. Or we do various you know squeezing and pushing and and patterns like that, just to try and get that central nervous system to kind of wake up and work out what it's supposed to be doing. And then we see the progress. You know, and I would say pretty much everybody I've worked with, if they can do the movements, we see the progress, we see the change, we see things improve.

Niki McGlynn:

The tricky thing is that when you're working with fear reflexes because fear reflexes don't make you frightened but they stop you feeling safe that when they start to change, change is really scary. So that's when we get pushback. So you know, kids don't want to do it, adults forget, so that's often the tricky bit is to get over that hump of that reluctance to deal with the change, because it's really disconcerting and it can't be uh, it can't be ever be this idea that oh well, if you really wanted it, you do it because, because this is about survival response, and your survival is the most important driving factor in your whole system. So if your central nervous system thinks this can threaten our survival, then it will do everything it can to to stop you engaging in it. But yeah, but if we can deal with that, then we always see things improve, always that's amazing.

Megan Devito:

So you walk them from amazing it is, it's amazing. It is because it's, it is because I'm like okay, so we can take someone and almost like, by rocking them, like holding them, rocking them, bringing them back into that state.

Niki McGlynn:

Yeah, you'd lie on the floor, rock them. It's a whole body movement. That's incredible.

Megan Devito:

Because who doesn't want that? Who doesn't want that? I mean, we make whole chairs for this, rocking chairs, like if you can hug someone.

Niki McGlynn:

Yes, yes, what happens? What do you do when you pick a baby up? What do you do with it? You rock it. You know you sit, you rock them and bounce them. You know that's instant and we know that the brain responds to rhythm.

Megan Devito:

We know it.

Niki McGlynn:

You know, when you're in your mummy's tummy, what you hear is rhythm, heartbeat, breathing. Yes, stop moving. Everything is about rhythm. When you put a baby down and you play music, it moves to the beat of the music.

Megan Devito:

We are rhythmic beings.

Niki McGlynn:

You introduce rhythm and movement and the brain absolutely embraces it.

Megan Devito:

Yeah, babies dance before they walk. They sit on the floor and they just wiggle their little bodies. That's incredible.

Megan Devito:

See that never would even have occurred to me, and that's amazing, amazing. Yeah, yeah. So you can take them from cradle or rocking and then to movements. I'm assuming you can move even into like crawling or jumping or whatever it is. Wherever you hit, at some point you're going to hit a sticking point, yeah, where it's like whoa, I'm not doing that, and I'm assuming that there is therapy involved in that and that you are talking with them about what's coming up emotionally and things like that as you rock or you don't necessarily.

Niki McGlynn:

That's not what the problem is. Yeah, and the problem with, with trauma recovery as well as we think, we think we have to talk about. You know that whole, you know, tell me about your childhood. We have to dig around yeah you don't have to.

Niki McGlynn:

You know when, when stuff is is stuck in your body because your brain switched off and couldn't deal with it, so it dumps it all in your system, then you you don't have to necessarily talk about it, you can just come and, you know, have. This is the whole basis of somatic therapy, is it's about? Yes your physical body yeah.

Megan Devito:

So all of those videos that all of you are watching on youtube with the somatic therapy and doing the different, you know different, whether it's a yoga pose or something else how do you feel about those videos Like, how do you do you feel like there's value to them?

Niki McGlynn:

Absolutely Hundred percent.

Megan Devito:

Hundred percent.

Niki McGlynn:

So good. So good, because I've always been like hmm, If you need to deal with stuff, the best way to do it is to move your body, but not, well, even going for a run. I was going to say not necessarily going for a run, but even going for a run. You know you're reducing, releasing all those endorphins, you're allowing your muscles to work and everything to you know, and it allows your brain to process information, but you know where trauma's stuck in your body. Then, yeah, absolutely, yoga's incredible.

Megan Devito:

Yeah, in your body then yeah, absolutely, yoga is incredible. Yeah, and this seems so like to me. This seems so obvious as I mean I going back again to the idea of being a teacher and I don't know what's happening in the UK, but in the United States we've taken recess and we've just made it practically non-existent with these kids. I'm like you can't ask them to sit there and to be able to learn, first of all, without letting them move. They have to be able to get up, I mean just to be able to learn new things, to be able to move their bodies and to be able to say oh, when I do this, I could jump and I can, you know, I could jump and clap and count and do those things. But really allowing those kids to get up and move through it, and I wonder how much of a difference and how much of an impact that would make on kids and teenagers and the world right now, who really need this.

Niki McGlynn:

And we were in the UK. We were definitely moving in the right direction, you know, when my kids were at school. So my kids are 26 and 24. I might be 27 and 24. Discalculing Numbers aren't my thing, okay, you've grown up now anyway. But when they were at school that was definitely the direction we were moving in, this sort of much more towards the Scandinavian model of formal schooling.

Niki McGlynn:

Seven and you know children before that should be moving around and learning through play and all the rest of it. And it's gone right back. We had an MP in for Michael Gove who absolutely decimated our education system, and now we try and start formal learning at four. Well, at four, you know children can't sit still until they are around about seven. You know six, seven basal ganglia connects and then you can be still so before that, physiologically you cannot be still so expecting a four-year-old to sit, hold a pen when their hands are still mostly cartilage, hold a pen and write, it's just a nonsense. It's a nonsense and this is, you know, one of the many reasons why we're having so many problems within schools. You know, big classes, not enough teachers. We don't pay our teachers enough, we don't treat them with enough respect, yada, yada, yada. But ultimately it's the lack of movement, it's the short play times, it's the taking all the equipment out of playgrounds. We're just not giving our children the opportunity and we've lost that understanding between movement and learning. It's really integral.

Niki McGlynn:

Although I say that I live near Windsor, you know Windsor Castle, I live near Windsor, you know Windsor Castle, so I live so near Windsor. There is a very famous public school called Eton, yes. So I went on a tour bus one day with my son and his girlfriend who came down from North England and we went past Eton and the guy was giving his tour guide bit and he said at Eton they have six hours of games a day. And I just started to do this work and I thought now that's really interesting because they educate leaders, they understand the link between playing games so probably football I don't know, but rugby and cricket and you know all of those kind of games they understand that link between that and development. And and here in state schools you're lucky if you get an hour a week and I think that's really because it's much more, you're much more sports orientated in the States, I think, than we are here. We don't. We're not very sporty these days.

Megan Devito:

Well, for being a sports. We are very sports oriented, I mean for sure, but for being as sports oriented as we are, we don't have our kindergarten, our five year olds might get Fifteen minutes, maybe after lunch, to go outside for 15 minutes, and that's. That is not enough.

Niki McGlynn:

We used to get I mean when I was in school a long time ago it was a good hour a day, a half hour in the morning and a half hour in the afternoon should be out there all the time. You know that's what kids should be doing outside digging in, the climbing trees, and all of that because that's how children learn. That is how children learn exploring their world and and using their bodies and understanding. My children were very lucky and went to a school locally and when I went round and looked and this was the States. But when I went round and looked at the school, they, as part of the programme, we went into the playground and the teacher who showed me around said here are our apple trees.

Niki McGlynn:

We draw the blossom in the spring, we pick the apples in the autumn, we make art with the apples and then we cut them and we weigh them and we cook them and we make them into apple strudel that we sell at Christmas and that's the kind of cycle and I thought that's that's. That's what education should be. You know it grounds the sense of it. You know this is where food comes from, this is what we do with it, but let all of that kind of gone really yeah.

Megan Devito:

And how about adults? H</span>ow do you feel about adults? I mean, we are very much we've, we're all face down in our phones, we're all hunching over and doing that. How do you feel about adults and movement in terms of working out anxiety? We've talked a lot about kids. How about adults?

Niki McGlynn:

Yeah, same, same same. I see adults in the same ways I see children. The thing, the difference with children and adults and primitive reflexes is that generally the children you can do the work, their reflexes integrate and they get on with their lives. With adults, because we are so now fixed in where we are, we can do the work and reflexes may integrate, but they may not stay integrated or they may not integrate as well as perhaps you'd like. So then it becomes a kind of really, you're probably going to have to do this movement program for the rest of your life, but it's not long and you don't have to do it every day.

Niki McGlynn:

You know, it's not even you can do most of it in bed, you know it's fine so, but it you know it's not even 10 minutes. You can do most of it in bed, you know it's fine so but you know it works the same this is so encouraging.

Megan Devito:

So encouraging it really is because, yeah, it's because I think so many people have been feeling rotten for so long and they think there's just no way I'm gonna be like like this forever, I can't concentrate, I'm an anxious mess. All of these things and one of the things I really, really tried to bring to my coaching, to this podcast, to out into the world, is that look, if I can get unstuck, you can get unstuck too, and it does not have to be a life sentence of misery, you just have to get there. And there's so many people that just I think they don't believe it at this point. But just knowing something as simple as starting with movement If you can just get that it does not have to take all day, it doesn't have to be forever, that it can change is that's an encouraging thought right there, and letting people know they're not stuck and there's so many different ways to get help yeah, exactly, exactly.

Niki McGlynn:

And the thing about movement is it's it doesn't, you know, it doesn't have to cost a lot of money, it doesn't have to really be really time intensive. You can find something, you know, and it's trying to. It's trying to separate movement from exercise, you know, because people don't want to exercise they don't, you know, they're tired and there's this kind of pressure that you have to do it in a certain way. You have to do it that way, whereas if you go, okay, so it's just movement, it's not. And and this is the thing when I'm because I teach this as well, you know is that when I'm teaching, I spend three days going movements, movements, people go what about this exercise? Movements, it's a movement, it's not an exercise, it's a movement. It's about moving your body. You don't have to, you just have to do it in a way that's comfortable and it feels nice.

Niki McGlynn:

You know you're changing what's going on in your brain. If it feels horrible, if you feel under pressure, if you feel anxious, if you feel anxious, if you think you won't be worried, you're not doing it right, then you're in the wrong part of your brain and it's not going to change. A stress system doesn't. Be nice and relaxed and enjoy it and then things will start to shift. So it's very gentle, it's the the idea here is that the whole thing is nurturing. You know you're dealing with effectively your baby brain. You know that that very delicate, gentle part that needs nurturing and love and care. And then that's when you see change. So go and do something you enjoy, you know. Go dancing. Go salsa dancing. Go, you know. Find something that you enjoy. Go swimming you know swimming is lovely, not if you're kind of thrashing down the pool, you know that has different benefits, but if you're just bobbing around blowing the water, then then that's precisely what you need to be doing to, to, to allow things to settle beautiful.

Megan Devito:

I love it and I know you said that you do most of your work, that you're in person. You're not, you're not, you're not doing therapy online, but for people to connect with you and hear what you have to say, where can they find you? Where could they are like - are there? Do you feel like there's lots of neurodevelopment therapists out there? Is this something that's becoming like?

Niki McGlynn:

Yeah, most of it's aimed at children, so it's really a question of finding somewhere who's prepared to work with adults and they and that you're comfortable working with them. And especially if you're an anxious person, you need to find somebody who you feel really comfortable with, so the more well it's this whole thing about. If you feel comfortable and nurtured, then then things will change, things will improve. So you need to find somebody who'll support you. I'm in the UK Not probably for most of your listeners. I have a video on my website that you can access, but that talks about the reflexes in detail. So if somebody wanted to know about the reflexes in detail, that's that. But that's not really a therapeutic thing. So Facebook groups are a great place to find people locally. If you ask in Facebook groups, anybody know if he doesn't, that's inspiration or neurodevelopment, they're sort of the key words to look for and you know you get pointed in the right direction there all right, that's wonderful.

Megan Devito:

Well, I'm going to link at least some of your social media in here so that people can find you and check out your website, because I do have listeners in the UK and maybe they're not too far from you and they would like to connect and come see you.

Niki McGlynn:

So you know, if anybody's got any questions. I have a Facebook page which is organized mind with an s, not a z, and on there I've got quite a few videos and I'll put this when you know. When we do this, I'll put this on there so that people can find it, and I'm always happy to answer questions, always. You know, I'm really passionate about this and I think the more people who know about it, the better, and the more confident people are, the better. So I'm really really happy to answer any questions that anybody's got wonderful.

Megan Devito:

Thank you, and absolutely people, you need to reach out. Just learn about this, even if you're just educating yourself on movement and simple movements that maybe you can do in your house and then reach out. Ask Niki a question, let her help you. I think that the more people we can get therapist, coaches and otherwise on this team really I will say this every week this is not a problem that we have to continue to let grow. This is a problem that we can shrink exponentially and eventually get to the point where people are not so overwhelmed and not so anxious and not so distracted all the time. This is not a forever problem. We just have to build each other up. We all have to work together to get there. So thank you for your incredible work and for what you bring to this whole healing process for the world.

Niki McGlynn:

And thank you for letting me come on and bang on about it.

Megan Devito:

Oh, I love it. I love it. Thank you so much. It's great to have you. I hope you enjoyed this episode of the More Than Anxiety podcast. Before you go, be sure to subscribe and leave a review so others can easily find this resource as well. And, of course, if you're ready to feel calm, to stop overthinking and have a lot more fun, you can go to the show notes, click the link and talk to me about coaching. I'll talk to you soon.

Understanding Neurodevelopment Therapy and Reflexes
Understanding Trauma and Neurodiversity
Reflexes and Movement Therapy Progression
The Importance of Movement in Education
Movement for Mental Health Transformation
Healing and Coaching for Less Anxiety