Massages release the hormone Serotonin, which releases a sense of well-being. Children with autism often are uptight and tense about social and environmental situations, and massages assist in giving them a sense of comfort.
Children with autism often have trouble with human touch. It makes them uncomfortable in most situations. By repeating massage treatments, children become accustomed to tactile stimulation and therefore respond better in social situations.
Massage therapists often teach parents of autistic children massage techniques so that massages are given by a familiar face and puts the child even more at ease.
Children with autism are more sensitive to light touch so massages are given very rigorously. Most massages are targeted at the children’s legs due to the fact that autistic children tend to walk on their toes, which causes pressure and tension on their leg muscles.
The positive results of massage in autistic children include reduced hyperactivity, tolerance to touch, improved social communication, better sleeping patterns, improved attention to tasks, and fewer adverse behaviors.