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Words of Wellness

Fibromyalgia and Massage

Fibromyalgia and Massage

Kayla Burnside

Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain throughout the body, with tenderness in joints, muscles, tendons and in soft tissue. Fibromyalgia is not a disease and unfortunately no cure has been found, the pain can be managed though.

Doctors are using new checklists done weekly by people who may feel they suffer from fibromyalgia (those having mild to severe pain that can occur and last throughout the day and night). Some people have expressed feeling worse at night in many cases. Pains may feel like shooting, burning or a deep ache in the muscle and joints.

With about 5 million Americans dealing with Fibromyalgia, some doctors have found benefits of Massage Therapy:

1) relaxation to improve sleep; night sessions in particular help with this.

2) improved muscle tonicity; restores strength and vitality.

3) improved mental clarity; raising healthy awareness and relieve mental stress.

4) headache relief; improved blood flow to brain during the massage.

5) decreased effects of anxiety and depression; restores homeostasis to the body.

Clients should be aware that the first four to five treatments may aggravate their fibromyalgia. Only 10% of fibromyalgia clients have experienced this reaction but all clients should be informed. Research done showed that the aggravation may be coming from the stimulation of oxygen supply to the "hungry" cells and the release of toxic waste from tissues into the circulatory system. Once an individual gets into a good, relaxing regimen of regular massages, positive changes will occur. To gain the positive effects from massage 2 sessions per week are recommended until you know how your body is going to react. Individuals can decrease massage session frequency once your body is reaping the benefits.

(References: Ross Turchaninov & Bob Prilutsky; Massage & Bodywork magazine issue Feb/March 2004;; Title of Article: Treating Fibromyalgia: Massage Therapy as a beneficial tool.

Jimmy Gaileis, LMT, BCTMB; Massage Magazine issue July 2015; Fibromyalgia: Massage Therapy)

As a Massage Therapist, I have seen these effects of massage first hand and fully believe in all of the benefits that it gives our clients. There is not one person who has the same issues as the next patient with fibromyalgia, so making sure to listen to your body and staying in close contact with doctors is definitely going to help get you to be feeling better each and every day.

While beginning your massages with your therapist, you may want to be weary of deep tissue being done at first because it could make you feel sore in the days following. Start off with medium to moderate pressure and build your way up to deeper work. Again, this could be different for some people and lighter work may need to be avoided in some cases, it just depends on what you have experienced with your Fibromyalgia diagnosis.

Stay active and making sure that your muscles, joints and soft tissues are being used and are not stiffening up.

In conclusion, I have had so many great experiences helping my clients and knowing that my job is benefiting them so much, is enough for me to want to keep learning and educating people on this topic. So if you or anyone you know may be dealing with Fibromyalgia, consider seeking out a Therapist and build your new future!

  • Kayla Burnside, LMT
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