Brushing therapy was developed by Steven Clarke, from work done twenty years ago by two Britons, Peter Blythe and David McGlown. It is based on the theory that many of the problems found in children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and with some developmental difficulties, can be related to an immature central nervous system, one that still exhibits reflexes which the child should have outgrown. For instance, it is thought that a child that has not outgrown the Moro reflex* has inappropriate levels of adrenaline in the body, leading to hyperactivity and/or daydreaming, and concentration and memory problems.
* The reflex in babies which makes them throw their arms into the air and their pupils dilate and which transforms at around 6 months into the adult startle reflex.
How does it work?
The goal of brushing therapy is to mimic the movements or stimuli that should have occurred to stimulate the development of the central nervous system, and allow the development of the immature neurological reflexes, letting adult reactions come to the fore.
Conditions that may respond to brushing therapy
Dyspraxia (also known as the Clumsy Child syndrome)
The therapist uses a paintbrush to gently stroke designated areas of the face and body twice a day for up to ten minutes for around seven months. There are twenty five stroking exercises designed to simulate the earliest touch reflexes in the womb, and seventy different movement exercises. The stroking exercises are similar to the Spanish custom of finger stroking and soothing newborn babies.
An initial assessment is made of the person and if it is considered that the therapy will be beneficial they will have a full developmental assessment, followed one week later by a report in which the assessment is discussed and the first exercises are taught.
Patients then attend monthly for progress appointments for about seven months, with the final two appointments spaced more widely apart. The exercises take up to fifteen minutes per day.
This therapy is non-invasive and there is no use of any kind of drugs. Treatment is designed to eradicate the cause of the problem, not treat the symptoms.
There has been much media interest in the therapy, and many parents who have tried it have reported great improvements in their children, most famously the pop star Sting, whose son was diagnosed with dyspraxia.
For further information
Jenn Clarke - Developmental Therapist
Tel: 07956 678777
Steve Clarke has published a book about this therapy. It can be purchased on the website.