Therapy for Autistic Adults & Children: How Reflexology Can Help Improve Sensory Issues and Emotional Engagement
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect communication, behaviour, and social interaction. Its effects vary from person to person and can present challenges in daily life.
One of the common effects of ASD relates to sensory processing issues. Autistic individuals may be either hypersensitive or hyposensitive to sensory stimuli, which can lead to discomfort or avoidance of certain sensory experiences.
In this blog, we will discuss how reflexology footwear can help alleviate these sensory issues and improve the quality of life of autistic individuals.
Reflexology is a complementary therapy that involves applying pressure to specific points on the feet, hands, or ears to stimulate nerve endings and promote relaxation and healing. The techniques used in reflexology massage can help regulate the nervous system, which can improve sensory processing and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Reflexology footwear is designed to provide this massaging effect with constant pressure to specific reflex points on the feet, which encourages the release of endorphins, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being. It can provide a gentle and non-invasive way to stimulate the nervous system and improve sensory processing and emotional engagement.
For individuals with hypersensitivity, reflexology massage can help reduce stress and anxiety that may exacerbate their sensory sensitivity. By promoting relaxation, it can help develop a coping strategy for becoming more receptive to sensory stimuli.
For those with hyposensitivity, massaging specific reflex points on the feet, increases stimulation to the nervous system, which improves sensory awareness, helping them to become more responsive to sensory input.
Significantly too, Revs precision engineered nodules, can offer tactile feedback that can be beneficial for individuals with both hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity to touch. In particular, for those with hypersensitivity, the nodules on the footwear can help desensitise the feet and provide a grounding sensation.
Feeling overwhelmed and out of control in an unbalanced sensory situation can result in a feeling of high stress and anxiety. Reflexology can help regulate the nervous system and promote relaxation, which can help reduce stress and anxiety in individuals. By reducing stress and anxiety, autistic individuals may be better able to recognise and express their own emotions, as well as respond to the emotions of others in social situations.
The following are testimonials from people who have been wearing Revs® footwear:
Grace – a professional artist with autism.
She says she has “twitchy toes”. She says when she feels herself starting overload, she deliberately wrinkles her toes inside her shoes. The sensation gives her something to focus on without being noticeable in public. It is clear she is giving herself a stimulus on which she can focus, when her brain processing is becoming confused. One month after wearing a pair of Revs Grace reports the following:
“The best way I can explain the way the insoles work; it’s like the texture of tough stretchy rubber massage my feet (while walking), after a while it then seems to tire out all my nerves and overloaded sensory energy, which then allows my tense muscles and some emotions to relax and become calmer. Even my feet no longer seem to twitch when I am having a daydream or watching the TV. There are times now I have to take the insoles out, as I am used to working under pressure (like putting up exhibitions or providing talks), I kinda need the adrenaline to push me through tiredness and lack of motivation. I only just realised this is one of my strategies. I wouldn’t advise running in them, as they can cause my feet to get sore. It took me a while to get used to them and see the difference they make, but I can now safely say I wouldn’t go back to wearing shoes without them”.
Hope – an author tries Revs® footwear.
When she first put them on, she says:
“Before, I knew I was walking but could not feel it, but now I can feel I am walking. The ridged insoles are incredibly helpful. They help to ground me. I can actually feel my feet for once in my shoes. The only time I used to be able to feel my feet was when I was in pain with them. Or if I was wearing new (or uncomfortable), shoes which sometimes meant I would purposely wear these uncomfortable shoes just to get that pressure on my feet. Just so I could feel my feet. I now don’t feel like a floating head like I normally do. Or sometimes my feet felt like jelly, which not only leads to clumsiness, but feeling weird. I like my feet to feel things, especially the ground, which is why I didn’t like wearing shoes. I like to not wear shoes, but don’t like not wearing socks, as I don’t like my feet getting mucky. Because with socks on only, you can feel the ground. But with the insoles I can get the feeling I crave. The insoles also help when going into overload. As before when I was getting overloaded, I would scrunch up my toes which I now understand was my body trying to grasp onto something and get the much-needed feeling I required. Without this, I would continue to spiral further into overload and panic. But now it almost brings me back to where I am and stops me from getting me overloaded – and helps me to calm down. It also stops overload from occurring in the first place”.
Here is some more feedback from more of our autistic customers and those with sensory issues who have tried Revs® footwear:
He did not expect them to have the effect they did. His gait is much smoother, with less tiredness and he has a better sense when he is cycling that his feet are resting on the pedals.
He has a better stride and a better sense of body connectivity; his posture has improved, he is not stamping his feet down when he walks, and his right hemiplegia gas benefitted.
“After a week her brother’s motivation and health improved and this has been sustained on a remarkable level”.
In the UK there are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum, that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people. In the USA about 1 in 59 children has been identified with ASD, that is more than 3.5 million Americans. The statistics covers all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. For this reason, if Revs helps even a small percentage of this group, it is a great thing.