Massage and Fibromyalgia
Characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness, Fibromyalgia affects more than 3 million Americans every year. It is a chronic condition causing tension headaches, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and even cognitive difficulties. Although there are no definitive treatments associated with Fibromyalgia, some research suggests that massage therapy can help relieve some of the discomfort.
According to the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA), a study in 2014 showed that “massage therapy had immediate beneficial effects on improving pain, anxiety and depression in patients with FM.” Massage administered to connective and soft tissues improves muscle flexibility, as well as blood and lymph circulation—which in turn can relieve pain. Myofascial release technique in particular seems to have shown positive results.
As a massage therapist, anytime you’re dealing with a client with special needs or a preexisting condition, it’s important to have a good understanding of how the condition affects the client, as well as how massage therapy can be helpful. In addition to massage therapy, other complementary approaches such as acupuncture and yoga could also be helpful to clients suffering from FM.
If you’re interested in learning more about Fibromyalgia and how massage therapy can be beneficial, check out AMTA’s website.