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Am J Occup Ther. 2012 May-Jun;66(3):348-55. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.003541.

Qigong massage for motor skills in young children with cerebral palsy and Down syndrome.

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Teaching Research Institute, Western Oregon University, PO Box 688, Salem, OR 97308, USA.


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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