Autistic child finds comfort from non-traditional therapy - Perryville News: Archive

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Autistic child finds comfort from non-traditional therapy

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Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:09 am

Joann’s Beauty Salon in Perryville doesn’t just cater to styling beehives and bouffants — it also caters to those who may need a little extra TLC, particularly for one little boy.

Aiden Sauer, 9, who lives in Farmington with his mom and brothers, but visits his dad in Perryville, has been going to Joann’s for a little more than a month now to receive reflexology treatments. Aiden suffers from autism, and in the last month, his parents have seen a night-and-day difference in his personality and attitude because of the massage therapy.

“It’s done wonders for him,” said Aiden’s father Pat.

Aiden, his father says, has a heart of gold, but his autism can be rather debilitating for him.

“He has what we call ‘meltdowns’ sometimes,” Pat said. “It’s kind of like a blackout. He loses control, and does things he doesn’t mean to do.”

In response, Aiden’s grandma Lynne suggested Joann’s, as she’s been good friends with owner Joann Lane for years, and gets reflexology therapy herself. “I can go in feeling so awful and come out feeling so good,” Lynne said.

But what, exactly, is reflexology, and how has it “done wonders” for the young nine-year-old?

“He’s become real laid back,” said Lane. “He comes in these days and goes with the flow.”

Reflexology serves as a link to the ancient art of Oriental Pressure Therapy, practiced by early Egyptians. It focuses mainly on the hands and feet, and depending on what part of the foot or hand is massaged, that adheres to a different organ or muscle one might be struggling with. It helps to relax the body in order to improve the flow of blood, nerve impulses and bioelectrical energy throughout the body to allow balance and healing.

In Aiden’s case, Lane doesn’t focus on just one aspect of Aiden’s foot — he gets the full-foot treatment.

“I do his whole entire foot,” Lane said, who is also a certified reflexologist.

Initially, Pat was slightly worried about bringing Aiden in for the first time, as his autism also causes sensory issues.

“He doesn’t like to be touched, and certain things bother him,” Pat said. “The first time [we brought him to Joann], he was kind of skittish. But incredibly, he let her do it. I think he fell in love with it.”

“The first time we did it, he was a little afraid, or skeptical,” Lane said. “I could tell where he needed pressure points the most.”

Now, every other Saturday, Aiden shows up to Joann’s shop with Grandma Lynne, ready to go.

“He’s generally more calm, and not as nervous and jittery,” Joann said. “He knows the routine now. Off come the shoes and the socks.”

Aiden’s dad agrees.

“His attitude is different,” Pat said. “[Reflexology] is a great thing. It’s helped him a lot with his attitude, and with patience. It really relaxes him.”

Though autism effects children differently, Pat recommends reflexology, citing the difference it’s made in his son.

“It’s worth a try,” he said. “It helped him out a lot.”

Reflexology, though it seems to do wonders for children with autism, is also beneficial for a myriad of issues that include stress, autoimmune diseases, neuropathy, arthritis, migraines, indigestion and much, much more.

For those interested, call Joann’s Beauty Salon at (573) 547-2424.

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