Autism / ASD / ADD

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Breathing quality is involved in problems with many of the following:

  • ADD/ADHD       
  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Behaviour
  • Bowel Motility
  • Circulation
  • Co-ordination
  • Constipation
  • Development
  • Digestion
  • Eating problems
  • Hyper-sensitive hearing
  • Immune System
  • Infections
  • Learning
  • Meltdowns
  • Muscle Tone
  • Parasites
  • Posture
  • Sensory Overload
  • Sleep
  • Socialising
  • Speech
  • Toilet Training
  • Vision
  • Weather
  • Weight


All routes to autism and ASD will have affected the function of an amazing brain structure called the limbic system, which is involved in both learning and memory and breathing.

Our amazing limbic system briefly shifts our breathing pattern from the diaphragm to upper chest ’emotional’ breathing to help us to learn through emotional charge on experience.

The emotion stamped on experience during upper chest breathing ( For example when we “catch-our-breath” when we look at the time) alerts us and reminds us of an event.

The return to relaxed diaphragm breathing afterwards helps us to put this information in a broarder context, enabling us to think rationally about it.

Because of a malfunction of the limbic system a child with ASD is trapped in emotional upper chest breathing. 

The child with ASD therefore lives in a narrow emotional world unable to grasp the bigger picture.

However, breathing with the upper chest instead of the diaphragm brings with it further considerable problems that affect the ASD child’s ability to develop as other children seem to do.

Emotional upper thoracic breathing has long been known to produce problems with:

  • Learning and memory.
  • Anxiety.
  • Stress and panic attacks.
  • Postural disorders and consequently limb movement disorders.
  • Sleep disorders.
  • Digestive disorders.
  • Constipation.
  • Emotional and behavioural disorders.

 This is why breathing quality matters to children with ASD

The effect of limbic system malfunction on breathing in children with ASD and learning and behavioural difficulties therefore has three aspects:

  • Neurological- the effect on the brain (e.g. learning and behaviour).
  • Physiological- the effect on the physical processes (e.g. the gut and sleep).
  • Neurological plus Physiological- The vicious cycle whereby these two problems exacerbate one another.


TST massage therapy improves development in children with ASD and other behavioural problems because TST restores diaphragmatic breathing in  children with ASD

Breathing with the diaphragm (normal breathing) is important for:

  • Heart rate and blood circulation.
  • Increases the level of oxygen absorbed with each breath.
  • Reducing anxiety.
  • Posture, core strength and limb movement.
  • Speech.
  • Sleep quality and brain growth.
  • Coordination of breathing and swallowing.
  • Bowel movements.
  • Stress reduction. 
  • Digestion and gut health.
  • Temperature control
  • Eliminating parasites and maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora. 
  • Immunity and general health.

TST ‘massage’ therapy is specifically designed to increase blood supply to the diaphragm so that it becomes a stronger more responsive organ, better able to support diaphragmatic breathing in response to the body’s metabolic oxygen needs.

Parents using TST ‘massage’ consistently report that it gradually restores normal diaphragmatic breathing to their children, (both to children with ASD and those with other learning and behavioural problems).

They also report that they see improvements in  all  the areas listed above under the heading “Breathing with the diaphragm (normal breathing) is important for:” together with much more normal progress in their children.

Please have a look at the stories written by other parents to explain how TST helped their children with Autism and ASD.

For a more detailed explanation about the limbic system, breathing and the relevance in Autism and ASD please click here.

Thinking Autism charity offers information and support for parents and autism professional. Our website features autism research, practical advice from parents and professionals, and resources developed specifically to help your family on a journey towards greater health, connection, and hope.

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