Qigong Massage for Motor Skills in Children with Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome

May 28, 2012 – In an article published in the 2012 May-June issue of the American journal of occupational therapy, researchers from Western Oregon University presented a small randomized controlled study evaluating the effect of a dual parent- and trainer-delivered Qigong massage methodology on motor skills and sensory responses in 28 children under age 4 with developmental delay and motor tone abnormalities. Fourteen children had high motor tone as a result of cerebral palsy (CP), and 14 children had low motor tone as a result of Down syndrome.

Multivariate analysis and post hoc analysis of variance showed large effect-size improvements in Peabody Gross Motor Scale (PGMS) Object Manipulation scores and large effect-size improvements in overall PGMS scores in treatment versus control groups after 5-month intervention. Follow-up evaluation 10 month from the start indicated continued improvement. Sensory responses showed no treatment effect. The results suggest further investigation of qigong massage as a promising avenue for research to improve motor skills in young children with CP and Down syndrome.

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