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Massage therapy can help the mind as much as the body. Many people use these treatments as a way to relieve stress and relax a little bit. But the benefits of massage therapy for the mind go beyond the person who had a rough day at the office and needs to relax. Some massage therapists are even being sought to help treat autistic children.
Some of the symptoms associated with autism are withdrawal, aversion to touch, inattentiveness and anxiety. Many researchers believe that the massage treatment reduces the aversion to touch, a classic symptom of Autism. The rhythm and regularity of touch is credited here. The predictability of the physical contact can help to eliminate anxiety associated with tactile contact. As a result, the children may become more comfortable with physical contact, less anxious and better able to interact with others.
These ideas stem from the results of two studies conducted by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) with massage therapy and autistic children. Both studies saw improvement in the social skills of the children, while the second study included observing sleep patterns. The children receiving massage therapy were not as restless or fitful during sleep as the control group.
Massage therapy is not a cure for disease or disability, but it can be used to treat both the body and the mind for a number of issues. As more is learned, massage therapy schools will be incorporating new techniques and training methods that will open even more doors in the field.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|