Body Brushing — Scope | Disability forum

Body Brushing

JimJams Member Posts: 174 Connected
Has anyone heard of or had any experience using a technique called body brushing, I am wondering if it will help my son who has autism and needs quite a bit of sensory stimulation.


  • Sheila-YCLI
    Sheila-YCLI Member Posts: 1
    I know a mum who tried this some years ago. Was very time consuming and made her son need the loo all the time. Most of us try all kinds of things from fish oils to brain gym. We just keep trying and anything that helps has to be good.
  • JimJams
    JimJams Member Posts: 174 Connected
    Thanks for your help, its hard to know what to do for the best, keep trying to find ways to help his condition, but something new pops up all the time, so its never ending, he seems undersensitive to touch just now and it not very alert.
  • BusyOT
    BusyOT Member Posts: 76
    Hi Marie. Wilbarger's Body Brushing Techniques are used in connection with a sensory integration programme usually prescribed by an OT. The evidence regarding outcomes is fairly limited and I think you might find it difficult to find a therapist in the UK who has completed the training (although to be fair I'm an adult LD OT in Scotland, perhaps other paediatric OT's have easier access to training!). My understanding is that it is used to provide additional deep pressure proprioceptive and tactile input to calm the senses or light touch to alert them. I'm not sure that it is a technique you can learn yourself - I think you need to be taught by an OT.
    Although the evidence base is limited, if you can find a trained therapist it might be worth a shot! An OT should definetely be able to provide some advice regarding increasing levels of arousal / alertness.
    Good luck and let us know if you do try it and how successful it is.
  • Heather
    Heather Member Posts: 168 Connected
  • Heather
    Heather Member Posts: 168 Connected
    I used the brushing technique when my son was younger. He was easier to keep still then! It did help him and we also got a hydro bath installed. So first thing in the morning we could try and get him to walk straight and not drop everything. Only problem with the hydro bath was the noise. But as we all know, we all try it if we think it will help. Definately worth a try!
  • JimJams
    JimJams Member Posts: 174 Connected
    Thanks for all the advice everyone, I suppose I will start with our gp and ask about ot referral, I just dont feel my son is in our world if you know what I mean, he is happy to talk about cartoons and films all day, but wont talk about anything in the real world or answer any questions, he runs about all day screeching when he is not watching a film and it is hard to get his focus back on reality. He seems happy enough in his own wee world though, but does ask for us to tickle or scratch his skin a lot, so he is looking for some sort of stimulation.
  • fairywishes
    fairywishes Member Posts: 25
    I don't know about body brushing but I did baby massage (typical, basic) when my daughter was a baby - she liked the contact and it was a lovely quite time for both of us.
  • plusanna
    plusanna Member Posts: 1
    edited September 2015
    Hi Marie, we have done some body brushing with our son. He's got CP and due to a lack of body awareness we have used it as a stimuli to get a increased awareness of himself before doing any physio exercises or before a change of activity. We have only done arms and legs with a soft brush and after sone some joint compression to get the signals to his brain that his arms and legs are being "used". He's mentaly tot aware of what's going on arround him but struggles with motoric development. The technique we have used comes from a charity named BRAINWAVE, where we go on a regulare basis to get help and input on getting our boy to move forward physically. They have been great and the technique is very easy and simple and makes total sense. See link below for more info. Good luck! Anna