For parents and carers of children with autism, massage therapy can be a valuable way to help them manage their child's behaviour. Here are some of the ways that massage therapy can be useful. 

Sensory integration

One of the ways that autism can affect children is a failure to integrate sensory information, which often presents as distractibility. This can make it hard to focus on sensory inputs which can make it hard to participate in school, social situations and sports. By providing deep tissue massage the child gets specific information from different parts of their body which can help to process further sensory inputs. It can often be useful to start the sessions in low sensory environments such as quiet and dark rooms to minimise additional stimulation. 

Relieving stresses in the muscles

Children with autism often 'toe walk' which can lead to tight muscles through the arch of their foot and tightness in backs of the legs. Additionally, if a child with autism has a recurrent tic such as stretching hands, arching of the back or tensing of the jaw, these tics can also create tightness in muscles by the end of the day. Deep massage can help to release the tension in those muscles which can be much more comfortable and can make it easier to sleep at night. 

If muscles are left in a tensed position over time the muscles can become shorter, and this can also leave the child vulnerable to other injuries as the surrounding muscles compensate. 


Touch can be an important part of bonding. Children with autism can be very challenging to care for and some parents and carers can find it extremely hard to bond with children. Touch can help to release oxytocin, known as the bonding hormone, which can help both the carers and child to relax. This can be extremely useful for new carers (such as new foster parents) to know as this can help them form a bond as quickly as possible with their child. 

If you are looking to learn more about how you can integrate massage therapy into the treatment for your child with autism it can be useful to have some sessions with a massage therapist. They can help to train you in the techniques of massage therapy and work with you to create a plan to slowly work with your child to increase the duration and intensity of the massage sessions. 

For more information, consult with a massage expert, who is familiar with many other helpful techniques such as trigger point massage.