Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not parent and therapist delivered Qigong massage therapy decreases sensory and self-regulation impairments in children ages 3-6 years old with autism.

STUDY DESIGN: Reviewed three English primary studies published in 2005, 2009 and 2011.

DATA SOURCES: All studies were randomized controlled trials that compared a group of children with autism who received Qigong massage treatments to a controlled group of children with autism who did not receive the treatments. All studies were found using PubMED and Cochrane research databases.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Overall reduction in sensory and self-regulation, as well as the general autistic behaviors of the children, were measured by the utilization of different combinations of professional behavioral tests to evaluate the children before and after the intervention. For example, the Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC) and the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) were utilized to determine the general autistic behaviors of the children. The Sense and Self-
Regulation Checklist (SSC) was utilized to measure the sensory and self-regulation impairments of the children.

RESULTS: All three randomized controlled trials included in this review indicated that the Qigong massage treatments decreased the sensory and self-regulation impairments of the children as compared to the control group.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on the three randomized controlled trials reviewed, there is measurable evidence to indicate that the incorporation of Qigong massage into the treatment plans of children with autism aids in a reduction of sensory and self-regulation impairments. This review only analyzed the effects of the massage on small sample sizes of children between ages 3 and 6 years old.
Further research should include larger sample sizes and included individuals of other ages. Additionally, further research should specify which disease on the autism spectrum the patient possesses.