resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
June, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 06
Pediatric Massage: A Nurturing Intervention for Autism
By Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT
For Clarice, incorporating nurturing touch into the life of her family was natural. Her young son, Elliot, enjoyed receiving massage on a regular basis. When he was 3 years old, Elliot developed sensory issues.He started to refuse touch of any kind; clothing, the feel of grass, the feel of any food that he had experienced before, the feel of warm or lukewarm water. His muscle tone began decreasing and by the time he was 3 1/2 years old, he had lost all of his language abilities (previously he was bilingual), refused all eye contact and was unable to stand for more than 30 minutes at a time. He would not eat or drink anything other than milk, eventually regressing to the point when he could not verbally communicate and refused to eat.
Eventually his family would begin to unravel the mystery of how their little boy could be diagnosed with PDD-NOS, Autism, mental retardation and sensory integration disorder.
The incidence of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is on the rise. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control believe there are as many as 1 in 80 children affected by this group of disorders, and boys are affected 4 to 5 times as often as girls.
Autism is a complex developmental condition. Most children with autism are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of children who are developing on a typical spectrum. Autism, as we now know it, is incurable and the behaviors associated with the disorder persist throughout the child’s lifetime. Less severe cases may be diagnosed as pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) or Asperger’s syndrome (these children typically have normal speech, but they have many “autistic” social and behavioral problems).
One important note of clarity is that the diagnosis of Autism is one diagnosis under the umbrella of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). It can be confusing to understand that there is a spectrum of diagnoses based on symptoms rather than all children being affected by the diagnosis of autism.
Having a diagnosis of autism interferes with normal development of the brain in the areas that influence reasoning, social interaction, motor skills, communication skills and attention. Developmental disorders occur across a spectrum, affecting individuals differently; some children lose the ability to speak, some might have motor impairment, and many lack social and emotional awareness. Behaviors range from hyperactivity to serious self-injury. Families and healthcare professionals often report that children might show lack of eye contact, as well as, have an aversion to touch and tactile stimulation. These disorders make it difficult for children with ASD to communicate with others, leading to frustrated social isolation.
Pediatric Massage Benefits Autistic Children
Researchers have found that children with autism spectrum disorders show less stereotypical autistic behavior, are more social and attentive after receiving massage therapy and have less anxiety. Pediatric massage might provide relaxation, stress reduction and calm muscle spasms. Over time, the child typically becomes more accustomed to tactile stimulation and the regular intervention of pediatric massage might be beneficial in reducing inattentiveness, touch aversion and withdrawal.
It is estimated between 56 percent and 83 percent of children with autism spectrum disorders experience sleep disturbances. Often, by incorporating massage therapy into daily routines, children with autism experience decreased issues with sleeping. When utilized by caregivers, massage therapy might help strengthen the emotional bond between parent and child.
Considerations for Pediatric Massage
It is important to remember that each child with an autism spectrum disorder will have his or her own individual symptoms of autism. A diagnosis is only one factor in determining the best care of the pediatric client.
Patience, patience and more patience is the first key to success. The child must feel safe and that respectful connection takes time. Often, there is susceptibility to sensory overload. So, it is important to begin with proper intention and gradually provide deeper tactile stimulation, while being very aware of non-verbal communication. Always speak to the child with the intent that he or she understands. Investigate what forms of communication are being used (i.e. ASL, picture boards, spoken language and written language). To the best of your ability, incorporate these communication methods in the session.
Respect and incorporate parents to help them understand this is a journey and not a sprint. It might take time to achieve optimal results. Acknowledge that each and every change is a small victory and a step in the right direction. Realize on some days, there will be a plateau and even possibly a regression.
Utilize structure around your sessions. Children with autism prefer structure and have difficulty with transitions and sudden change. Take your time to allow the child to become comfortable with the environment and you, if you have entered their safe space. Never insist that a child participate in the massage session. Speak calmly and lovingly, take your time and introduce slowly. Request that caregivers have items the child likes available during the session. A favorite blanket, toy or flashlight could become the engagement item the child needs to be comfortably present.
The Mystery Unravels
With Elliot, pressure and patience was the key. Pediatric massage was introduced slowly everyday, and sometimes even 3 – 4 times a day. We would avoid the feet, hands, shoulders and head. Once he realized there was no threat, he let me touch his back and face. The face is still a difficult area to receive touch. The success of introducing touch therapy to other areas of his body is surely attributed to mom continuing nurturing touch between our therapeutic sessions.
It is now, after four years of practicing this regimen, that both mom and I can provide a full body massage for Elliot. Now, he even loves his feet being massaged but can only tolerate deeper pressure on his hands and fingers, no soft touch at all. Mom has learned to brush his skin during bath time and then provide firm “washing” with a rough textured towel. Whenever these activities are incorporated, he makes lots of eye contact and motions for more. He now enjoys a rich sensory diet of activities such as being placed in a large comforter and rolled very snug, skin brushing and deep pressure pediatric massage.
When Elliot experiences a “meltdown” (outbursts due to sensory overload, specifically for Elliot issues with lights, shiny floors and balance), he now knows how to self-calm by taking deep breathes, holding something tight or hugging himself. In this way, he is beginning to utilizing touch and breathing as everyday self-calming mechanisms.
For massage therapists and bodyworkers working with children on the spectrum, remember the diagnosis does not give you the entire picture. There are no hard and fast rules for massage due to their individual preferences stemming from their ability to process sensory stimulation.
However, through the use of massage therapy, our basic human need for safe, nurturing contact is met with often wonderful results. For children with autism, it provides not only a positive experience of being touched but the effects hold lifelong benefits for the child and their entire family.
Click here for more information about Tina Allen, LMT, CPMMT, CPMT, CIMT.
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