Early in her life when Kerry Bielicki was 27, she was diagnosed with the constantly painful condition of Fibromyalgia. Instead of letting her condition negatively affect her active lifestyle, she has been dedicated for the past 12 years to keeping her body moving with daily activity and weekly massage therapy sessions.
“If I just sat and was immobile, I would get even stiffer and tighter,” explains Kerry. “So, after I get a massage, I stay active and stretch every day to help keep me loose between sessions. Getting a massage weekly totally loosens me up and I’m able to move my neck again after I finish a session. I can absolutely know and feel the difference if I skip a week of massage.”
Kerry describes her Fibromyalgia condition as always having constant pain that comes and goes in intensity. When her muscles tighten up, it feels like having arthritis pain that restricts her range of motion and movement. She turns to a light tissue massage therapy approach to help deal with the pain associated with her condition, as well as to help her relax and unwind from the mental pressure associated with being in constant pain.
“I always describe having Fibromyalgia to people that it’s like the ‘Princess and the Pea’ story,” says Kerry. “Your body is so tender that any extra pressure, even from something as small as a pea, can literally cause a sore spot on your body. That’s why it’s so important for me to only have light pressure massages and Kristine always checks in with me multiple times throughout our massage about how the pressure is feeling to me.”
Kerry has been receiving massages from Kristine Duhamel, massage therapist at Elements Massage Westford, since moving to the area about two years ago. Kristine uses a mix of Swedish, myofascial and neuromuscular stroke techniques to help Kerry find relief from the stubborn areas in her body that cause her muscular pain each week. Kristine values Kerry’s open communication approach during their sessions so that she can help Kerry with specifically what she needs.
“Kerry is so in tune with her body and she’s always right on when it comes to knowing what’s going on in her body,” shares Kristine. “With Fibromyalgia, you aren’t looking to do deep tissue. Light pressured massage can be so helpful with lymphatic drainage, increasing your immune system, improving your circulation and helping calm the nerves down as your body relaxes.”
Kerry has been a believer in the benefits of massage for Fibromyalgia since shortly after being diagnosed with the condition. Massage was suggested as a pain management option during an informative class at her doctor’s office about her condition and, since then, she has been incorporating regular massage into her lifestyle. In addition to stretching daily, exercising regularly and adding massage therapy to helping with her condition, she also has changed her diet slightly by limiting caffeine, drinking green teas for their antioxidant benefits and eating healthier. Over the years, she also has found that her body reacts negatively to rainy, wet weather. So, she opts for various warming treatments – heated tables during her massage and regular hot tub soaks – to help combat the intensity of her achiness and pain when the weather doesn’t cooperate with warmer temperatures.
“The physical benefits of massage are an important part of my life, but I enjoy the mental benefits of relaxation as well,” shares Kerry. “It takes away all of the anxiety. Since I’m so relaxed, I don’t even worry about the pain in my muscles because I can focus on other things. Even just listening to the calming music in the massage room helps me forget about my aches and pains, even if just for during the session.”
Massage is one of the key elements that helps Kerry live a healthy and active lifestyle, even with the debilitating pain that can be associated with Fibromyalgia. By incorporating massage into her life on a weekly basis, she is able to enjoy the mental and physical benefits associated with the power of human touch and having a massage therapist that she can trust to listen to what she needs.