FIBROMYALGIA: TREAT SYMPTOMS WITH THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE
Fibromyalgia (fibro) has recently become a talking point in the US due to the growing number of afflicted individuals and the amount of research being conducted on the symptoms and causes. Researchers have not yet discovered the cause of the disease or the fibromyalgia symptoms. They do know that it involves a combination of genetics, infections, and physical or emotional trauma. The disease affects the way the brain processes pain signals, profoundly increasing the negative experience of painful sensations. While there is not yet a fibromyalgia cure, both the pain and symptoms can be managed.
What is fibromyalgia?
Originally known as rheumatism, symptoms of the musculoskeletal disease include chronic fatigue, as well as sleep, memory, and mood issues. Other symptoms can include tension headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and depression.
Although researchers have yet to find a cure, many of the problems can be controlled through a variety of medications, as well as improved diet and exercise. One often overlooked fibromyalgia treatment, however, is massage therapy.
A 2011 study (from the American Massage Therapy Association) suggests that massage therapy can help ease painful symptoms associated with fibromyalgia. In the study, 74 fibromyalgia patients were divided into two separate groups. The group that was treated with massage therapy (as opposed to the control group, which was not) reported being happier overall, improved sleep, and lower anxiety levels.
Massage helps to oxygenate the tissue area that is affected by the disease. Usually, problem spots feel cold to the touch, but massage helps to warm the area, causing temperature normalization. All of this helps to improve
- Muscle tone
- Provide mental clarity
- Relieve headaches
- Levels of anxiety and depression by stabilizing the adrenal systems
Be sure to inform your message therapist of your condition prior to treatment, so that they can tailor the plan to your specific needs and symptoms.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a massage therapist:
- Is your massage therapist licensed?
- While exact requirements vary by state, massage therapists must be licensed in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Since they are considered healthcare professionals, many states require continued education be completed by the therapist in order to maintain their accreditation.
- Does your massage therapist have experience working with fibromyalgia patients?
- A licensed massage therapist will know exactly what type of therapeutic massage your body needs, the duration and frequency required, and will be able to accurately explain how and why the treatment is effective. A licensed therapist can help ease your symptoms and manage your pain.
It’s not too difficult to find out if your therapist is licensed; in fact, The Missouri Division of Professional Registration has a tool for exactly that.
Our team at Healing Arts Therapeutic Massage treats all of our clients with respect and dignity. Here, you’re like family. If you’re suffering from fibromyalgia, help is at hand. Give us a call at (417) 886-4826, to schedule an appointment or learn more.
*As with any treatment of a medical condition, please discuss the possibility of massage therapy with your primary care provider. Your PCP can discuss the various options available and help determine if therapeutic message is right for you.