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Qigong Massage Therapy May Help Children with Autism

Qigong Massage Therapy May Help Children with Autism


Autism is commonly associated with sensory and self-regulatory disturbances. According to an article published by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in its Jul/Aug issue, Qigong massage therapy map help young children with Autism.


This article presents a randomized controlled study evaluating the effect of a 5-month intervention directed toward improving sensory impairment, digestion, and sleep in 46 children with Autism who were less than 6 year old.


The intervention, Qigong Sensory Training (QST), is a qigong massage intervention based in Chinese medicine. It is two-pronged: Trainers work with children directly 20 times over 5 months, and parents give the massage daily to their children. Improvement was evaluated in two settings--preschool and home--by teachers and parents. Teacher evaluations showed that treated children had significant classroom improvement of social and language skills and reduction in autistic behavior compared with wait-list control participants. These findings were confirmed by parent data, indicating that the gains had generalized across contexts.


Back in 2007, the same group of researchers conducted a smaller size of pilot study showing that children treated with a five-month qigong massage methodology improved in sensory impairment and developmental delay. The severity of autism was reduced in measures of autistic behavior as well as measures of language and social skills. The massage was given by a physician trained in Chinese Medicine and the parents.


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