New research confirms that a parent-delivered massage treatment for autism results in 32% decrease in severity of autism, 38% decrease of sensory problems, and 44% decrease of parenting stress after five months. The treatment, known as QST massage*, is an effective sensory treatment for autism. Sensory problems contribute to severity of autism and interfere with children’s participation in home and school activities.
Parents give the massage every day. They are trained not to avoid uncomfortable areas, but instead to attune the massage techniques to their children’s comfort level. As parents continue the daily massage and work through their children’s difficulties, sensory problems diminish. Children start to relax, make eye contact and listen; they become more affectionate and engaged with parents, and closer to other family members and peers. They ask for their massage and it becomes a relaxing, bonding time together.
After five months children’s sense of touch is greatly improved, they are better able to regulate behavior, and social and language skills are increasing. Children with severe autism move towards moderate, moderate children move towards mild, and mild children move off the spectrum. The treatment should be started at the time of autism diagnosis in order to decrease autism severity, and prepare children for success in school. It is usually continued for 1-2 years.
Research studies show that modified versions of the QST massage protocol improve developmental outcomes for children with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and self-regulation delays.
*QST (Qigong Sensory Treatment) is a type of massage known as qigong massage that is based on Eastern medicine. It is focused on improving children’s response to touch and child-to-parent interactions and bonding.