Massage for Autism
Why touch is so crucial
Touch is crucial for social and behavioral development. When considering how some children on the spectrum are effected by negative response to tactile stimulation (touch) we must then consider the importance of regular routine healthy touch. Typical therapies such as ABA, Speech, Occupational ect . are wonderful developmental treatments for our ASD children. But consider this, developmental therapies may not benefit fully without touch being addressed first. Plenty of research shows impaired growth and cognitive development in those who have lacked touch. This sense is essential to children’s growth of physical abilities, language and cognitive skills, and social-emotional competency. Touch not only impacts short-term development during infancy and early childhood, but also has long-term effects. Incorporating massage treatment into your routine can enhance chances to successfully develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Early and often truly is the key because lack of touch during the early years slows growth exponentially. Research has shown lack of touch can also lead to being more hostile, anxious, or emotionally distressed. It is just no secret, Touch is needed for healthy brain development, body awareness and so much more in our children.
Benefits of Massage for ASD
More and more research is becoming available showing benefits of massage for Autism. It is positively treating things like sleep, behavior, GI issues , body awareness, learning ability, social interactions, sensory reception and more. You may ask how exactly can it benefit so much. Well touch provides so much sensory input. It addresses the nervous system and the involuntary reactions the body produces that we may forget to recognize. Like production of endorphins including serotonin and dopamine. It fires parts of the brain responsible for important things like creating connections and sensory fulfillment. It also increases production of Oxytocin, an important hormone for overall well being, that has been linked to human behaviors such as recognition, trust, anxiety and bonding.
A research study in 2012 shows the increase in oxytocin production during massage.
Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans.
Morhenn V1, Beavin LE, Zak PJ.2
A more recent study was done in 2016 shows the significant deficiency of oxytocin in children effected by Autism.
Plasma Oxytocin in Children with Autism and Its Correlations with Behavioral Parameters in Children and Parents
Veronika Marcincakova Husarova,1,2 Silvia Lakatosova,1 Anna Pivovarciova,1 Katarina Babinska,1 Jan Bakos,1Jaroslava Durdiakova,1 Aneta Kubranska,1 Igor Ondrejka,2 and Daniela Ostatnikova1
Another recent pilot study was done on children diagnosed on the spectrum who received regular touch therapy by their parents and the increased levels of oxytocin not only in children but also in moms.
Salivary Oxytocin Concentrations in Seven Boys with Autism Spectrum Disorder Received Massage from Their Mothers: A Pilot Study
This article has great links to multiple research studies showing the benefits of Oxytocin
https://www.google.com/amp/s/ io9.com/5925206/10-reasons-why -oxytocin-is-the-most-amazing- molecule-in-the-world/amp
I think Oxytocin is a key factor when considering the benefit of touch therapy for ASD. It is widely available to us for free! We can use something as simple as touch to increase this amazing molecule in our bodies! Love N life Massage aims to teach families how to enjoy all the benefits by adopting regular massage into their routine.