Do you suffer from chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia? You're not alone—in fact, scientists estimate that fibromyalgia affects 5 million Americans age 18 or older. Between 80 and 90 percent of people diagnosed with this musculoskeletal condition are women, although men and children can also have this disorder.
With the help of massage therapy, however, fibromyalgia patients can enjoy significant relief.
"Massage can bring a lot of benefits to fibromyalgia patients in terms of alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with the condition," says Salifou N. Bishop, a licensed clinical massage therapist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore who treats people with fibromyalgia.
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that include chronic pain in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. It is one of a collection of chronic disorders that often go hand-in-hand. Chronic fatigue syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, sleep disorders, and several other chronic conditions often accompany fibromyalgia.
How Does Massage Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients?
Many fibromyalgia patients are choosing massage therapy as a complementary treatment, and with good reason! The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine states that up to 91 percent of people with fibromyalgia use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, and up to 75 percent use massage therapy.
Research indicates that massage therapy can benefit fibromyalgia sufferers in the following ways:
- Reduce pain
- Improve health status
- Improve quality of life
- Decrease anxiety
- Decrease depression
- Increase sleep hours
- Improve quality of sleep over time
- Reduce tender points
- Decrease urinary CRF-LI (a biochemical marker of stress-related symptoms)
- Decrease use of analgesics
- Decrease cortisol levels
- Decrease stiffness
- Decrease fatigue
- Be effective in an integrative treatment plan
Additionally, massage releases endorphins, the body's natural painkillers!
Best Types of Massage for Fibromyalgia Pain
The following forms of massage therapy have been found to be most beneficial for fibromyalgia patients:
- Trigger point therapy: Targets painful spots located in bands of muscle fibers, something people with fibromyalgia have more of.
- Swedish massage: Combines kneading, gliding/sliding, beating, and friction techniques to promote circulation to nutrition-deprived parts of the body.
- Myofascial release: Involves applying gentle, sustaining pressure into connective tissue, therefore eliminating pain and restoring motion by elongating muscle fibers.
- Hot stone massage: Places heated, smooth, flat stones on key points of the body to use them as massage tools.
- Passive stretching: Exerts an external force on a limb to move it into a new position, thus loosening up stiff muscles and joints caused by fibromyalgia.
- Sports massage: Alleviates stress and tension built up in the body's soft tissues during physical activity, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, increases circulation and lymph flow, improves flexibility, and can help relieve fibromyalgia pain.
Always be sure to consult your doctor prior to getting massage for fibromyalgia pain relief. Your physician can recommend the best type of massage based on the severity of your condition, that way you can get the most from it.
Once you receive the go-ahead, call Infinity Massage Chairs at 603-347-6006 to discuss your options! We can help you find the perfect massage chair to help you relieve fibromyalgia pain in the comfort of your own home. Plus, since it is typically recommended that fibromyalgia patients receive frequent massage therapy, having your own massage chair will provide you with convenient relief. Learn more about Infinity Massage Chairs today!