Qigong Sensory Training (QST) is a massage protocol, which has been developed over the course of 14 years, with 21 scientific studies. QST is based on Chinese medicine and has been used for over 3,000 years to treat medical conditions and improve health in children!
QST is a patting massage and is designed to improve circulation of the skin and the rest of the body. It is quite different from western massage! The direction of the massage is done away from the head, towards the hands and feet, and thus follows the direction of blood flow and brings oxygenated blood to the skin and sensory nerves.
Chinese medicine believes that children with Autism and/or sensory challenges are often less aware of their environment and of their bodies because they have blockages in the sensory channels. This affects the way that a child can take in information from the environment. QST treatment uses a massage protocol to stimulate recovery and growth of tactile fibres by increasing circulation to the skin.
Touch is the first sensory system to develop in babies, and is vital for establishing the infant-caregiver bond that becomes the foundation for self-regulation and social-emotional development. Through frequent and daily holding, feeding, dressing, grooming, and playing, parents and caregivers provide their babies with a wealth of sensory stimulation. During the first years of life, touch is the most important sensation for social connection and self-regulation.
When the tactile system does not work well, children often experience discomfort with clothing, grooming, and/or food textures. They may also have difficulty managing behaviours, difficulty with motor development and social-emotional delays. Without the ability to enjoy touch and close physical contact, children aren’t socially receptive and can’t be soothed by parent touch. Before long, social delay and abnormal behaviour are evident.
Studies show that almost all children on the Autism Spectrum have abnormal processing of tactile and other sensory information. Children without ASD may also have mild to significant sensory processing difficulties, which are impacting on their daily functioning.
QST has a protocol for children with ASD and those with sensory challenges, as well as a different protocol for children who have Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome.
Primary studies in QST have shown:
- Decreases in sensory, sleep and digestion issues
- Increases in daily living skills such as toileting and tooth brushing
- Increases in sensory and emotional regulation
- Increases in social skills and language
- Improvements in motor development
Deborah Thomas, one of our Senior Occupational Therapists, has successfully completed the Child Therapist and Parent Training course for Qigong Sensory Training, which allows her to be a trainer and crucial support for families using this massage protocol.
For more information on this exciting intervention for children and their families, please contact Deborah Thomas at WizeTherapy on (08) 9317 7932.
You can also visit the QST website at www.qsti.org.