Children with autism are often unaware of their environment and have difficulty learning. Chinese medicine believes that autism is caused by a blockage in the sensory channels so that the child is not able to properly take in information about the world around them.
In China, Qigong massage has been used for over 3000 years to treat medical conditions and improve health. Qigong Massage performed along the channels (meridians) relieves the sensory blockages so that the child becomes more aware and begins to learn.
The intervention is given daily by parents to their child, for five months. The massage takes about 15 minutes to give, and can be worked into the bedtime routine. Usually more than one family member is trained, so that in the event that one person is not feeling well, or too tired, the other trained person can give the child their massage.
After five months of treatment:
- Sensory problems improved by 38%; touch improved by 49%
- Autistic behavior decreased by 32%;
- Social skills increased and children were more affectionate
- Receptive language increased
- Parenting stress decreased by 44%
After two years of treatment:
- There was 100% recovery of the sense of touch
- The average decrease of autism severity was 44%
- Over 50% of high-functioning children moved off the spectrum
A study evaluating treatment in older children (aged 6-11) showed similar results.
What Can Families Expect
The QST therapist will meet with you and your child 21 times over 20 weeks, teach you the massage, and work with your child directly. At the exit interview, your therapist will review the progress on the post testing with you, and plan together how long your child will need the home massage. You and your therapist will decide the most convenient time frame for the twenty visits. They may occur once a week for 20 weeks, or they may be twice a week for ten weeks with two month long breaks in between. The exit interview will take place four weeks after the last treatment session. The parent(s) will give their child a qigong massage daily throughout the course of the 20 weeks. Both therapist and parent massages are equally important to the success of this intervention.
What parents said…
“I’ll never stop singing the praises of Qigong. I hope that this method becomes much more common for helping autistic children. You’ve literally changed our lives.”
“One day he just put his arms around me and said ‘I love you mommy.’ You could see in his eyes he understood love.”
“This is the first time someone taught us something that we could do to help our child get better.”
“A fog has lifted for her, and now she is able to take in what is going on around her.”
Parents Reported Many Firsts
• Slept through the night
• Said his first words
• Started eating new foods
• Pretend-fed her dolls
• Played with sister
• Cried and said “I am sad”
• Stopped head banging
• Easy transition without a temper tantrum