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Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
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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