*Please note- this blog post was written during my time at Brain Fit Academy Inc. I have since continued this amazing work under my own company- Brain FUNdamentals LLC. I hope you enjoy!

What would happen to a tree if it didn’t have strong roots? 

  • Would it grow healthy, strong and tall? 
  • Would it be able to stand erect in the ground and maintain its stability in the wind? 
  • Would it be able to withstand the ebbs and flows of weather patterns? 
  • Would it support the tree in the best way possible?

I’m no arborist, but I would say that the answer to all of these questions would be no. Would you agree?

Just like roots of a tree, our brain stem serves to support us- right from the earliest beginnings of our development. You see, when you look through the lens of the Triune Brain Theory (explained in more detail in this post) you will come to think of the brain in three parts. The earliest, the brain stem- or the “baby brain” as we say at Brain Fit, is like the roots of a tree.

The baby brain develops first. Establishing (or it is supposed to establish) a solid foundation for the rest of the brain to develop. It serves as the “roots” of the brain- upon which the other parts of the brain can grow. It governs survival mechanisms such as breathing and digestion and is where the primitive reflexes are housed.

But herein lies a potential problem. If the baby brain doesn’t develop quite the way it should- if the primitive reflexes don’t emerge, develop and integrate smoothly, those “roots” (the brain stem) can get- what we call- a little “disorganized”.

Think about those tree roots again for a minute. Let’s just say that the roots of the tree represent the primitive reflexes. The roots are those early motor patterns- the primitive reflexes. Now, picture those roots all tangled up. Growing every which way- left/right, crossing over each other and intermingling. Not really forming a flowing, organized pathway to the ground and the nutrients it holds. 

If the roots of the tree grew in that tangled, mixed up way, would the tree be at its best? Would it be able to weather the storms of life and do all of those things I mentioned at the beginning of this post?

So remember, those roots represent the primitive reflexes, right? What if the primitive reflexes “grew” or developed in the same way that those roots did? Picture that. 

The early motor patterns that help us to survive, facilitate the development of our sensory systems, facilitate the ability for us to be comfortable in our bodies, as well as facilitating motor development growing in that same tangled up way. 

The primitive reflexes developing in that same, mixed-up way- left/right, crossing over each other and intermingling. Never really forming a flowing organized pathway to the upper parts of the brain. Remember- the brain develops from the bottom up, so if the lower parts of the brain aren’t organized and those roots are all tangled up and not flowing- the upper parts of the brain don’t have the foundation they need in which to grow!

That’s what has happened with many of the clients we see at Brain Fit. The brain stem didn’t grow in an organized way. Or, maybe it started to grow and somehow got interrupted. Either way, there is disorganization in the lower parts of the brain. The roots are all mixed up. The foundation isn’t strong enough to support the person.

  • They may not grow healthy, strong and tall
  • They may not be able to maintain (emotional) stability in the “winds” of life.
  • They may not be able to withstand the ebbs and flows of the “weathers” of life.
  • They may not have the “support” of the brain in the best way possible.

The brain stem, AKA “baby brain” and the roots of the tree- they both support. They both need an organized flow to do their best work. They don’t always have it.

At Brain Fit, we support the brain stem by integrating the primitive reflexes. 

As for the tree? I have no idea. You might want to consult with an arborist…

4 thoughts on “Roots

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