Massage Therapy Has Significant Calming Effects On Children With Autism


Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may have varying degrees of sensory issues, or may perceive sensory information differently—such as being startled or feeling pain when touched.

Each child with have different sensory needs and different sensitivities to sound and touch, so an individualized approach for each child is recommended.

Vibrating massage has been shown to be especially effective with children on the autism spectrum. Therapy tools have been shown to help children function more independently in the world. Compression vests can also achieve a calming effect and increase body awareness in children with sensory issues.

Four options to create a safe sensory place for your child include:

1.) Movement: Using sensory items to allow children to increase vestibular stimulation through bouncing, rocking or jumping.

2.) Light: Soft light such as stringed lights, glow lights, lava or salt lamps, etc. can add a calming effect to a room

3.) Deep Pressure: According to,  “A cost-effective option for building a private ‘snuggle space’ for deep pressure is taking a play tent or even a blow up kiddie pool and filling it with blankets and lots of stuffed animals. Let your child burrow into all the fluff! Another option is to roll your child up into a blanket (like a little burrito) or let him/ her crawl under comforters and heavy blankets.”

4.) Vibration: A small hand-held or stationary massager can provide powerful vibrational sensations. Vibration can be very “organizing and alerting for a child with a low arousal level,” according to the site. Vibration in general can be very calming for a child and can be used on the child’s back, arms and legs. Not all children will like vibration so make sure to be in tune with your own child’s needs.

To finish reading the rest of the Autism Parenting Magazine article, read here.