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Recent research from Dr. Orit Bart at Tel Aviv University’s School of Health Professions, and her colleagues, have found that a simple course of physical treatment for balance problems can also resolve anxiety issues in children.
Her study — done in collaboration with TAU researchers Yair Bar-Haim, Einat Weizman, Moran Levin, Avi Sadeh, and Matti Mintz, and to be published in Research in Developmental Disabilities — investigated the anxiety-balance connection in young children for the first time.
Dr. Bart tracked children between the ages of five and seven who had been diagnosed with both problems to see how treatment would affect each disorder.
After a 12-week intervention of sensory-motor intervention, the children in Dr. Bart’s study improved their balance skills.
The therapy also reduced the children’s anxiety to normal levels, she reports. As their balance and anxiety issues improved, the children’s self-esteem also increased.
Why is this important research? It shows that changing the brain through movement can help with mental disorders, especially at a young age, when children are unable to participate in cognitive-style treatments.
The “learning hierarchy” foundation in the brain is primitive reflex integration, sensory system development, then postural reflexes. Following this foundation will allow for language, higher-level cognitive functions, and learning. Primitive reflexes must be integrated in order for the sensory systems to work efficiently together and balance to be intact.
Watch our video below for more information on this amazing research: