Exercising with babies - reflexive crawling

Reflexive crawling is one of the global therapeutic models of the Vojta reflexive locomotion for activation of congenital motion programs. The goal of the Vojta therapy is to strike the function of the central nervous system, in order to reach quality motion. Baby can use these options in its spontaneous movement. Combination of the positional impulses, stimulation of specific zones leads to the release of the desired motion program.

The following exercise is designed for parents, who absolved education of the Vojta method from a professional physiotherapist and they want to repeat it in order to avoid mistakes. We will show you how to activate the movement patterns by activation positions and trigger points.

Goal of the technique:

  • Activation of the mechanisms needed for support, grasping objects, straightening and walking
  • Activation of the breathing and abdominal muscles, muscles of the pelvic floor, sphincters of the urinary bladder and rectum
  • Activation of the swallowing functions and chewing muscles
  • Activation of the eyes muscles
Default position
  • Place your child into a position on the stomach
  • Rotate your head to one side by 30 degrees and let it rest on the side of the forehead
  • Take one of your arms (on the side to which the head is tilted to) flex the arm in a shoulder joint to 120 and 135 degrees, abduction (moving the arm away from the torso), flexion in the elbow joints to 45 degrees (to the level of the elbow in the height of the nose)
  • Support of the resting arm against the mat, with forearm on the inner side of the elbow
  • Flex the leg in the hip joint to 30 - 40 degrees, abduct (pulling away from the body) up to 30 degrees, bend the leg in  the knee joint to 40 degrees
  • Leave the second leg in a neutral position - let it rest freely on the mat (by adults), by children, slightly flex the leg, abduct it and outwardly rotate in the hip joint and slightly bend in the knee joint
Phase 1
  • In reflexive crawling are used trigger zones, which are split into main group and secondary group, each can provoke locomotion complex of the reflexive crawling, single zones can be precisely defined, similarly as the direction of the pressure
  • Start the therapy with pressure in the trigger zone
  • By a newborn child you can activate reflexive crawling through one of the zones, by older children and adults is combination of few trigger zones necessary
Phase 2
  • By pressuring the trigger zone, which was mentioned above, leads to clenching of muscle groups arodnu the shoulder girdle. The child has a tendency in this position to rest against the elbow joint, pull the abdomen asymmetrically forward and up. The elbow remains a supporting point of the whole movement patterns. We have to resist this movement due to needed isometric contraction (growth of the muscle tension, but the muscle doesn’t stretch or get shortened)
  • Activation of the muscles of the shoulder girdle leads to activation of the muscles of the whole torso, important result of this asymmetric activity of the back muscles and rotation of the head to the other side, which we resist
Phase 3
  • Pressing the trigger zones on leg leads to their activation, supporting point in this case is the knee joint, pelvic girdle is pulled towards the hip joint and lifts itself up from the mat
  • Arm is during the movement forward in reflexive crawling the stepping extremity (the movement is of stepping forward)
  • Physiotherapist/parent holds these zones under pressure in exactly described direction until evoking reaction
  • Children to 8 months max. 5 minutes, children above 8 months max. 15 minutes

Common mistakes

  • Incorrect position of the basic default position
  • Pressure on the pressure zones is not performed in the described direction
  • Forgetting to resist the movement

How often to exercise

  • Several times a day (4 - 5x)

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