All Things Considered: How Does Massage Affect Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia, a chronic musculoskeletal condition, affects nearly five million Americans and significantly more women are likely to suffer from the disease than men. The main symptom of it is experiencing pain throughout the entire body, as well as tension headaches, fatigue, stiffness and sleep disorders. Still, the cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown. As a result, those who suffer from it often have anxiety if they will find long-term pain relief.
In 1990, researchers at the American College of Rheumatology identified 18 fibromyalgia pressure points, a.k.a. tender points, that are still used to help therapists diagnose patients with this disease. People feel the tension in their skeletal muscles and in the connective muscle tissue of their body. This tension decreases fibromyalgia patients’ muscle elasticity and affects their arterial blood supply. This activates someone’s pain receptors and results in chronic pain that may not be caused by anything apparent. As a result, treating pain for fibromyalgia sufferers is difficult. The root cause of what leads to experiencing symptoms often is unknown.
The pain of fibromyalgia is only a start to the endless cycle of issues that affect a person’s central nervous system’s release of serotonin. Because of problems with releasing serotonin, patience has an increased likelihood of depression and/or mood swings. Suffering from fibromyalgia also affects the ability to achieve quality rest, which prevents the body from being able to repair itself and can further increase a patient’s depression and exhaust the body, mind and spirit.
Massage Therapy for Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia has no direct cure. However, several treatments are available to alleviate someone’s symptoms. One of the best treatments is for fibromyalgia sufferers to receive is massage therapy. Such therapy helps people get calf pain relief, decreases their stress hormones, and increases their serotonin level. With these benefits, it improves the overall sense of well-being. Special fibromyalgia massage therapy techniques also help to relax the body in order to achieve quality sleep, so the body can repair itself and start fresh for the following day. Once the body has reached homeostasis following a night of quality rest, someone can have both the mental and physical energy to address challenges throughout the next day.
Fibromyalgia and Massage Types
The best massage techniques for fibromyalgia patients combine kneading, pressure, stretching and heat. These techniques will loosen up the parts of the body that are tight and will increase someone’s mobility, allowing them to take on more physical tasks. Good techniques for fibromyalgia also increase circulation and help the body to clear out toxins within the muscles. Recommended forms of massage for fibromyalgia include:
• Swedish massage
• Passive stretching
• Sports massage
Massage Chair Benefits for Fibromyalgia Patients
Massage chairs make an excellent option for those suffering from fibromyalgia as they are the most cost-effective method for people who require regular, long-term therapy. They also make a great choice because of the convenience and availability for the user to take advantage of professional-grade therapy at any time of day, for as long as they like, and without having to leave the comfort of their home.
Some of the best massage chairs for fibromyalgia patients include:
Massage Constraints for Fibromyalgia Patients
Those with fibromyalgia should consult their physician prior to receiving any massage therapy. They also should receive only gentle-pressure massages because their muscles can be sensitive. Once you’ve consulted a therapist and picked a necessary therapy option, make sure to avoid deep-tissue work due to its pressure intensity and muscle overstretching through the treatment process.
Patients also should stick to short sessions. Otherwise, they take a risk to feel unwanted pain after the treatment. The goal is to make your muscles relax and make them more pliable, not to make you hurt.
Massage Benefits for Fibromyalgia Patients
Here are the advantages of fibromyalgia massage therapy techniques:
1) Relaxation to improve sleep. Evening sessions help patients improve their sleep quality at night, thereby allowing the body to recover faster.
2) Improving muscle tone. Massage therapy helps to strengthen the lax muscles and restore the strength and vitality of the client’s body.
3) Improving mental clarity. Relaxation sessions help raise health awareness and reduce mental stress for patients.
4) Elimination of headaches. Improving blood flow to the brain helps alleviate the physical source of headaches for patients. In addition, having such pain relief helps to keep the patient’s mind in a healthier space.