Brief Report: Improvements in the Behavior of Children with Autism Following Massage Therapy

Angelica Escalona, Tiffany Field, Ruth Singer-Strunck, Christy Cullen, Kristen Hartshorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


Twenty children with autism, ages 3 to 6 years, were randomly assigned to massage therapy and reading attention control groups. Parents in the massage therapy group were trained by a massage therapist to massage their children for 15 minutes prior to bedtime every night for 1 month and the parents of the attention control group read Dr. Seuss stories to their children on the same time schedule. Conners Teacher and Parent scales, classroom and playground observations, and sleep diaries were used to assess the effects of therapy on various behaviors, including hyperactivity, stereotypical and off-task behavior, and sleep problems. Results suggested that the children in the massage group exhibited less stereotypic behavior and showed more on-task and social relatedness behavior during play observations at school, and they experienced fewer sleep problems at home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-516
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2001


  • Massage therapy for autism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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