Touch-based treatment helps people with Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD)
A review on touch -based treatment, which is based in an ancient chinese massage therapy, has revealed that children with ASD improved their attentiveness and personal habits, after undergoing touch therapy. They observed that there was an overall decrease in autistic stereotypical behaviours, an increase in on-task behaviours, an improvement in participating children’s sleeping patterns as well as their bowel movements, body awareness, movement and communication.
Another trait of ASD that was improved by touch - based treatment, was the domain of sensory sensitivities, which involve: auditory, tactile, visual, gustatory, and vestibular domains. A study analysed the outcomes of undergoing touch based treatment in 13 children diagnosed with autism. In this clinical research, the subjects received twice a week massages, over two five week periods one month apart. Parents were trained to continue with the touch - based treatment daily, for the period of five months. After five months of treatment, children demonstrated significant improvement in their sensory impairment as measured by their total Sensory Profile scores.
But what exactly is touch - based treatment and how it works in the body?
The touch -based treatment method is known as Qigong Sensory Treatment (QST), and it is an ancient chinese massage technique that involves integrating movement, posture, breathing, and awareness in order to achieve mind and body wellness.
In people diagnosed with autism, the touch- based treatment is structured in daily 15 minutes massages for up to two years, in order to normalise sensory issues and reduce or eliminate symptoms of autism.
The benefits of QST as an effective intervention to help people with autism was confirmed in a randomized controlled study, in which 46 autistic children underwent QST with trainers who worked directly with the children for 20 times over 5 months. During that period parents were trained to give their children daily massages. After 5 months, teachers evaluations confirmed that QST helped the subjects, as it was observed they had a significant classroom improvement of social and language skills, reduction of sensory sensitivities and generally inducing a positive improvement in the pathological features of autism.
Touch - based treatments are offered in many clinics worldwide, but it is important to make sure the practitioner is properly trained in QST!