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Somatic Reflexes

Have you ever had a doctor, or a really twisted friend, tap a spot near your knee and it reflexively kicks? If so, you have experienced a somatic reflex.

There are essentially five somatic reflexes. Three are spinal reflexes:

  • Stretch
  • Crossed Extensor
  • Superficial Cord

And two are cranial reflexes:

  • Corneal
  • Gag

A reflex arc is a neural pathway which controls an action reflex. In humans, most sensory neurons don't pass directly to the brain, but synapse via the spinal cord. This allows reflex actions to occur very quickly by activating spinal motor neurons without experiencing the delay of routing signals through the brain, although the brain will receive sensory input while the reflex action takes place.

There are two types of reflex arc: autonomic reflex arc, which aaffects the inner organs, and somatic reflex arc, which affects muscles.

In the knee jerk reflex, a strike to the patellar tendon initiates a somatic reflex which causes a contraction of the quadricep muscle of the leg and causes it to kick. Since this bypasses the brain, this type of reflex occurs without conscious thought.

As there are a number of these sorts of reflexes in the body, activating these will cause a reaction regardless of whether or not the individual feels it. These can be of great value to those intoxicated, in altered states of consciousness due to drug activity, or those with impaired thinking.

Too many people try to get these types of individuals to comply based on pain. As you learned in the previous report, this is usually Slow Pain techniques such as strikes to the body and such. Instead, activating Fast Pain receptors, especially those tied to somatic reflexes offers the greatest opportunity to bring involuntary compliance.

Time to hit the anatomy books...

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