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Therapeutic body wraps (TBW) for treatment of severe injurious behaviour in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): A 3-month randomized controlled feasibility study

by Pierre Delion, Julien Labreuche, Dominique Deplanque, David Cohen, Alain Duhamel, Céline Lallié, Maud Ravary, Jean-Louis Goeb, François Medjkane, Jean Xavier, on behalf of The Therapeutic Body Wrap Study group


The use of therapeutic body wraps (TBW) has been reported in small series or case reports, but has become controversial.


This is a feasibility, multicentre, randomized, controlled, open-label trial with blinded outcome assessment (PROBE design).


Children with autism and severe-injurious behaviours (SIB) were enrolled from 13 specialized clinics.


Dry-sheet TBW (DRY group) vs. wet-sheet TBW (WET group).

Primary outcome measures

3-month change in the Aberrant Behaviour Checklist irritability score (ABC-irritability) within per-protocol (PP) sample.


From January 2008 to January 2015, we recruited 48 children (age range: 5.9 to 9.9 years, 78.1% male). Seven patients (4 in the DRY group, 3 in the WET group) were dropped from the study early and were excluded from PP analysis. At endpoint, ABC-irritability significantly improved in both groups (means (standard deviation) = -11.15 (8.05) in the DRY group and -10.57 (9.29) in the WET group), as did the other ABC scores and the Children Autism Rating scale score. However, there was no significant difference between groups. All but 5 patients were rated as much or very much improved. A repeated-measures analysis confirmed the significant improvement in ABC-irritability scores according to time (p < .0001), with no significant difference between the two groups (group effect: p = .55; interaction time x group: p = .27). Pooling both groups together, the mean 3-month change from baseline in ABC-irritability score was -10.90 (effect size = 1.59, p < .0001).


We found that feasibility was overall satisfactory with a slow recruitment rate and a rather good attrition rate. TBW was a safe complementary therapy in this population. There was no difference between wet and dry TBW at 3 months, and ABC-irritability significantly decreased with both wet and dry sheet TBW. To assess whether TBW may constitute an alternative to medication or behavioural intervention for treating SIB in ASD patients, a larger randomized comparative trial (e.g. TBW vs. antipsychotics) is warranted.

Trial registration NCT03164746.

Authors:   Pierre Delion; Julien Labreuche; Dominique Deplanque; David Cohen; Alain Duhamel; Céline Lallié; Maud Ravary; Jean-Louis Goeb; François Medjkane; Jean Xavier; on behalf of The Therapeutic Body Wrap Study group
Journal:   PLoS ONE
Volume:   13
edition:   6
Year:   2018
Pages:   e0198726
DOI:   10.1371/journal.pone.0198726
Publication date:   29-Jun-2018
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • autism
  • behaviour
  • ASD
  • medication
  • clinics
  • antipsychotics
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