About QST

Qigong Sensory Treatment Massage for Children with Autism

Qigong Sensory Treatment (QST) is a research-based, parent-delivered massage treatment that helps children with autism and sensory integration disorders. It is the first treatment to improve all aspects of autism – sensory, behavioral, social, and language.

Abnormal sensory responses are included as core diagnostic symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in the the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5). 

Research shows that touch is the sense that is most involved in social development, and tactile abnormalities present in young children with autism are directly related to delay of early self-regulation milestones required for social development. 

The first four self-regulation milestones that emerge in the first year of life: ability to self-soothe, ability to regulate orientation/attention, digestion, and sleep/wake cycles.

The fifth self-regulation milestone developed in the third year of life - built on the first-year milestones and early language development - emerges: the ability to regulate emotions and  behavior in response to social cues. The failure to achieve this fifth milestone constitutes the social delay by age three that is relevant to autism.

Research shows that parent touch is the most effective stimulation to help decrease tactile abnormalities in young children with autism. Attuned parental touch may stimulate the earlier self-regulation milestones by repeatedly activating parasympathetic nervous system functions. 

The research-based parent-delivered QST massage was developed to treat the tactile abnormalities in young children with autism to improve self-regulatory functions from early development age in order to prepare them to achieve social developmental skills.

When delivered in tune with the child’s body responses, it normalizes the sense of touch. The child’s brain starts to integrate the three streams of information that are present in social interactions: sense of the body in space, sense of sight, and sense of hearing.

 QST massage may improve eye contact, language, learning, social interaction, sleep, digestion, potty training, tolerance to frustration and transitions, and skin sensitivity. Also, QST massage may help to reduce behaviors such as head banging and tantrums.

Fifteen studies on QST massage have shown that young children with autism who receive a 15-minute daily massage from their parents over a 5 month period have experienced a decrease in the severity of all aspects of autism:

  • Autistic behavior decreased by 32%
  • Sensory problems improved by 38%
  • Sense of touch improved by 49%
  • Social skills increased
  • Language receptivity increased
  • Children demonstrating affection
  • Parenting stress decreased by 44%

After two years of treatment: 

  • There was 100% recovery of the sense of touch
  • The average decrease of autism severity was 44%
  • Over 50% of high-functioning children moved off the spectrum

In Chinese medicine, “Qi” means life energy, and “Qigong” means working with life energy. Qigong massage is a Chinese technique consisting of 12 movements of a patting massage on acupuncture points related to autism issues.


© 2019 Rosimery Bergeron Counseling LLC
DBA Autism Treatment Center of Bend
750 NW Charbonneau Suite 211
Bend OR 97703