When you think of treatment options for autism, do you think of massage? I know I didn’t. So when I was offered the opportunity to read Virginia S. Cowen’s book, Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork for Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Guide for Parents and Caregives, I readily agreed.
Massage as a Complementary Therapy
Virginia Cowen is a massage therapist, exercise physiologist, and Yoga and Pilates instructor. She is not asserting that massage is THE treatment option for autism, but rather, she believes it can be used to complement other treatment options. Massage can address sensory, motor, and touch issues; all of which can be problems for children with autism.
What is Massage and Bodywork?
Cowen defines them both in her book as:
By definition, massage is a general term used to describe manipulation of the soft tissues of the body that is done for therapeutic purposes. This manipulation can include techniques such as stroking, pressing, kneading, along with joint movements such as stretching. It can also include efforts to manipulate the human energy biofield. Bodywork is a term that is used to describe different types of energy and movement-based styles. Some forms of bodywork include breathing, stretching, and conversation and are used to engage the client as an active participant in the therapeutic process. (pages 19-20)