Qigong Sensory Therapy

What is Qigong?

Qigong [spreek uit als tchiekung] is an ancient branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years to help people improve their health and help them recover from illness.

What is Qigong Massage?

Qigong massage unites the Eastern traditional approach and the Western pragmatic and research-oriented approach in medicine.

The Qigong Sensory Therapy, [QST]also called Qigong massage, is a set of 12 movements that improves the overall blood and energy circulation of the child and helps in the processing of sensory stimuli. The massage is aimed at the acupressure points and channels on the body.

It is also a double therapy.The therapist and the parent(s) work together in giving the massage to the child. The therapist trains the parent(s) in giving a fun and simple form of the massage (15 minutes). This massage anchors the progress in the therapy sessions and strengthens the parent-child relationship.

Qigong Sensory Therapy as a massage intervention has been proven effective in treating autism and other sensory and self-regulating problems. A number of randomized controlled trial studies(1)show the following improvements after 5 months of QST treatment:

* 32% reduction in autistic behavior
* 38% reduction of sensory problems
* 49% improvement in problems with touch

After two years, a 44% reduction in autism severity and related parental stress is reported. 1 in 4 children moves up to outside the spectrum. The treatment is effective in both mild and severe forms of autism.

QST acts on the sensory and autonomic nervous system, allowing hyper- and hypo-reactivity in all senses to return to a normal level. In children with self-regulation problems, the autonomic nervous system is compensated, the tone increases, the sympathetic tone is smaller and the child can regulate himself again when necessary. Sleep, digestion and mood improve, and stress in parents is significantly reduced.

More info on the website of the Qigong Sensory Training Institute: https://qsti-nl.weebly.com

Why have I never heard about this?

It is quite normal that you have heard little or never about Qigong Sensory Therapy [QST] since only a few therapists in W-Europe are certified in Qigong Sensory Therapy.

There are currently about 100 QST therapists worldwide. Most of them live on the west coast of the United States, in the states of Oregon and Washington. There are also therapists in Australia, in Canada and in Lithuania.
Look here for the list of all QST Therapists.


Is QST safe for my child?

Yes it is absolutely safe.

This method is based on age-old qigong principles and 16 years of scientific research. The Qigong Sensory Therapy is formulated in order to be a gentle and safe method. The massage is also adapted from beginning to end to the evolution and needs of the child. Each massage session is very unique and respects the progress and level of the child. It is generally a very gentle and non-invasive technique.

How can this help children with autism or sensory problems?

As research shows, children with Autism often have major sensory challenges. We also know that some children have significant sensory problems. They don't experience their bodies and their environment in the same way that the rest of the family does. Their sensory system is out of balance, the senses do not work together.

The main purpose of the Qigong massage is to regulate the sensory functions of the child as well as possible. As a result, the sensory information from the skin, eyes, mouth, ears, and the entire body starts to work together. The child can then better understand his body and the world around him. He becomes more curious and begins to make eye contact. From then on, the child begins to have more concentration, is more relaxed and ready to participate in social situations. His worldly development can begin now, he can now blossom openly.

The Qigong Sensory Training Institute, along with the Teaching Research Institute at Western University in Oregon, has also published research on a modified form of Qigong massage for children with Down syndrome. They have achieved great results with this group, especially with regard to their overall strength, fitness, gross motor skills and expressive language.

How do I know if the Qigong massage works for my child?

At the start of each guidance, parents fill in 3 questionnaires.

– The senses and self-regulation questionnaire

This shows the reactions to sensory overload of your child and measures his independence at the level of self-regulation and self-control.

– The parenting stress index

This shows how hard it feels as a parent to raise a child with special needs.

– The development milestones checklist

This gives a picture of the achieved developmental milestones of your child.

With these measuring instruments we sketch a picture of the child at the start of the guidance. After a few months, the same questionnaires are completed again to look at the progress and efficiency of the treatment.

The various scientific studies(1)carried out in recent years have shown that every child who participated in a QST program has made progress with an average of 44%.

Of course, you should not wait for the results of the before and after tests. You will soon notice (within a few weeks) that your child sleeps better and starts eating better.Gradually, other improvements are added such as fewer meltdowns and / or anger attacks, better reaction ability, more attention, …

QST makes you have a quality moment with your child every day that you will both enjoy immensely.

How did the Qigong massage come to the West?

The Qigong Therapy was brought to the US in 2001 by Dr. Louisa Silva. She received her medical degree from the University of California and was a physician in Traditional Chinese Medicine and had a Master's degree in Public Health. Dr. Silva lived and lived in Oregon (USA) and practiced medicine from both Western and Eastern approaches. She passed away in January 2018.

In 2000, the son of a good friend was diagnosed with autism. She saw how difficult it was for the child and the family to deal with this. She then became aware that there was a great lack of effective, research-based treatments for this condition. She contacted her mentor and working partner, Dr. Anita Cignolini, to learn more about a technique she had come to know during her training. Dr. Cignolini was the first medically trained physician to bring medical qigong from China to the West.
Dr. Silva based her method to develop the Qigong Sensory Therapy we know today. The main goal of her adjustments in the working method was the condition that parents and therapists could perform the massage independently without having to compromise on efficiency and results.

Dr. Silva was very research-oriented and took great care to ensure that every detail of Qigong Sensory Therapy was documented through scientific studies(1)in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the technique.



Defense modeHand on the right

Hand left


QST in detailHand on the right

QST ResearchHand on the right

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