Massage and Reflexology for Autism - by admin@mcb on May 30 2017

Massage and Reflexology for Autism

Is there any evidence to suggest that massage therapy and/or reflexology is beneficial for children affected with austism? One case study says “yes”.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a serious neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a child’s ability to communicate and interact with others. It also includes restricted repetitive behaviors, interests and activities. These issues cause significant impairment in social, occupational and other areas of functioning.”

Children who have been diagnosed with autism commonly display anxiety and repressed motor skills. The impairment of motor skills is often linked to an underdeveloped or dysfunctional proprioceptive system. Proprioception refers to the body’s ability to sense movement within joints and joint position. It is important in all everyday movements but especially so in complicated sporting movements, where precise coordination is essential.

Case Study – Massage and Reflexology for Autism

As of now, there is very little clinical research on the ability of massage therapy to have a positive effect on proprioceptive dysfunction in autism. However, one short case study does give promise.

In the case study, a moderately functional 5-year-old autistic girl was given a series of eight 40-minute massage therapy sessions over a four-week period. At the onset of the case study, she had some proprioceptive dysfunction that impaired her ability to plan and perform gross motor skills. This dysfunction was delaying her physical developmental abilities. The bodywork sessions included Swedish massage, and foot reflexology targeting the reflex points relating to the nervous system.

Functional testing were given before and after the series of massages. These included balancing on one foot, jumping rope, back-and-forth ball bouncing, and ball dribbling. The effect of the bodywork was that she experienced a faster-than-normal rate of learning motor skills. She also displayed greater control over her posture, coordination, and use of force.

Because this study involved only one moderately-functioning subject, larger studies are needed to confirm a positive correlation between massage and reflexology in autistic children. Until then, if you are close to any autistic children or adults, massage and bodywork, including reflexology, may be worth pursuing.

(Based on a case study presented by Rachel Benbow, LMT, BA, MLIS at the 2016 International Massage Therapy Research Conference.)

Continuing Education Courses Available

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers several massage therapy continuing education courses that might be beneficial for autistic children. We offer certification in infant massage, and continuing education in reflexology. We also offer courses on infant massage research and reflexology research. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education approved provider. Our courses are valid for CEs in most states.


Maternal Migraines, Colic Linked - by admin@mcb on May 20 2017

Maternal Migraines, Colic Linked

Maternal Migraines, Colic Linked

Women with a history of migraines have a 50% greater chance of having a baby with colic, a new survey found. Fathers with a history of migraines, however, had a statistically insignificant lower chance of having a baby with colic (29%) compared to father without a history of migraines (31%). The study, conducted in February and March 2017, studied 1010 participants. Colic was defined as the baby crying for at least 3 hours per day for at least 3 days during the prior week. Fussy crying times were most common between 4:00 p.m. and midnight, with the heaviest crying between 8:00 p.m. and midnight.

Parents rated babies with colic as having increased sensitivity to loud noises and strong smells —traits often associated with migraine. Infants with a history of colic are also more likely to experience migraines in their adolescent and adult years.

Lead author Amy Gelfand, MD, director of pediatric headache at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), spoke at the American Headache Society (AHS) 2017 Annual Meeting. She stated that these results should be of interest to obstetricians and pediatricians. “For obstetricians, it’s worth counseling pregnant women with a history of migraine that they are more likely to have a baby with colic — and to let them know that colic is a time-limited phenomenon that isn’t their fault. For primary-care pediatricians, if you’re seeing a colicky baby with a family history of migraine, keep it in the back of your mind that these children may be coming back with headache or migraine at the age of 7 or 8 years old.”

Help for Migraines, Colic

Techniques that the parents reported as having a calming effect to the colicky infants included feeding, gentle rocking, making shushing sounds, and adding white noise.

Because increased colic is linked to maternal migraine, anything to mitigate migraines in pregnant women and mothers may be helpful. Massage therapy, both during pregnancy and postpartum, should help. Infant massage techniques can also be helpful to calm a colicky baby.

Massage Continuing Education Courses

The Institute of Somatic Therapy offers courses in prenatal massage certification and infant massage certification. Institute of Somatic Therapy is approved by the NCBTMB as a continuing education approved provider. #280672-00. Our courses are valid for most states. Click for information on becoming a Certified Prenatal Massage Therapist and/or a Certified Infant Massage Therapist/Instructor. For both certifications, see our package discount here.