Massage therapy can pose to be a great aid in working on sensory touch for children and adults with autism. Frequently one of the characteristics of those with autism or other mental disabilities is an aversion to touch or contact. Although the aversion applies to all contact, and can lead to a defensive response or immediate withdrawal, studies have shown that therapeutic massage could be the least stimulating and least likely to cause a reaction.
Whereas light touch causes over stimulation to the senses, a deep tissue massage can do the opposite. As a massage therapist it is important to approach children and adults with mental disabilities in a fragile and patient manner. Due to their hyper-sensitivity, taking a much slower approach to the massage will cause the least amount of stress for the patient. It’s important as the therapist to explain the process of what you’re doing and where you will be massaging. Although a full body massage is unlikely, if our massage therapists here in Kailua are able to work on specific areas at a time with no defensive behaviors, we have achieved our goal.
This technique is widely used by parents of children with autism because if the child is receiving a massage from a therapist as well as their parents it is going to become less stressful for them. In a study by the Autism Research and Treatment Journal they found that autism severity among the 103 children in the study actually decreased by 32 percent. Not to mention sensory problems improved by 38 percent and sensitivity to touch and texture improved by 49 percent after five months of treatment.
The deeper the massage, the more likely the child is to accept it. The more often that the person is receiving massages, the more likely that it is going to be implanted into their routine, meaning they will become more comfortable with it.
Massage therapy at OSR can help with:
Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab we offer 30 minute and one hour therapeutic massages to our patients. If you are interested in attending a complimentary consultation or coming into our office to meet some of our massage therapists, give us a call at 488-5555.
Louisa M. T. Silva, Mark Schalock, Kristen R. Gabrielsen, Sarojini S. Budden, Martha Buenrostro, and Gretchen Horton, “Early Intervention with a Parent-Delivered Massage Protocol Directed at Tactile Abnormalities Decreases Severity of Autism and Improves Child-to-Parent Interactions: A Replication Study,” Autism Research and Treatment, vol. 2015, Article ID 904585, 16 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/904585