Qigong massage treatment for sensory and self-regulation problems in young children with autism: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Occup Ther. Jul-Aug 2009;63(4):423-32. doi: 10.5014/ajot.63.4.423.

Abstract

Autism is commonly associated with sensory and self-regulatory disturbances. 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 < age 6. 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 (blind to group) 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. A model and supporting data for understanding and treating sensory and self-regulation problems in autism is presented.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / therapy*
  • Breathing Exercises*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Treatment Outcome