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

Author(s) Louisa M. T. Silva, Mark Schalock, Jodi Garberg, & Cynthia Lammers Smith
Date May 1, 2012
Published in American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Vol. 66
Citation Silva, M., Schalock., Garberg, J., & Lammers Smith, C. (2012). Qigong massage for motor skills in young children with cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66. Retrieved from


In this article, we present 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 (p < .01) and large effect-size improvements in overall PGMS scores (p < .04) in treatment versus control groups after 5 mo intervention. Follow-up evaluation 10 mo 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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