When the demands of everyday life exceed your ability to cope, it causes stress. For Fibromyalgia patients the stress of pain management can be devastating and leave people feeling depressed and isolated, but there are tools out there than can help. For Denise Marsh it was Massage Therapy.
Massage Therapy for me has been a life saver. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 25 years ago and that was one of the first things that really helped me. Helps with sleep, relaxes my muscles, and allows my lymph system to flow. It really gives me relief and looseness. It really helps with the stiffness of my body, especially first thing in the morning.
There are many benefits of Massage Therapy. Part of it is receiving touch. Sometimes when we are in pain we’re alienated from the rest of our relationships and touch is sometimes deprived. One of the biggest things is improvement of circulation – the blood circulation and particularly the lymphatic circulation. The only pump the lymph has is muscle movement and massage can accomplish a lot of cleansing lymphatic movement.
Massage is very important because it is the only thing, sometimes, that can break up the restriction or the knots or the tightness that’s in the muscle. It has to be done in the right way of course. Too pokey and it tends to flare up the situation, but a nice gentle, smooth massage where you are at first going with the fibers of the muscle that tends to be tolerated better. Then you go perpendicular to the muscles fibers and you gently, layer by layer, loosen the muscles up.
Most Fibromyalgia patients have neck and shoulder discomfort. In that area there is tight, knotty tissue. The chair massage, first of all, can be done anywhere; it can be done over the clothing. It’s usually of a shorter duration - 15-20 minutes.
The Massage on the table is usually a full-body massage - An hour to an hour-and-a-half in length. Very often that is too overwhelming to begin with. I use eclectic type of massage and so each person is individual and it’s tailored to their needs. So, for instance somebody with chronic pain Fibromyalgia, you might have to start out very slowly with a Swedish type of a massage, which once again is a long, smooth stroke concentrating more on the circulation. You might move up to something like neuro-muscular, which takes the pressure off the nerve endings and releases trigger points and also possibly even Myofascial release. Every muscle, muscle fiber, muscle bundle is wrapped in it’s own package and that’s called LaFascia. LaFascia gets restrictions in it, it tightens down, it sticks to itself, it has an elastic quality so as you work with it, you warm it up and it starts moving with you – independent of the muscle and the skin.
A deep Myofacial release is very important when my muscles become stuck, where I have limited motion, a lot of pain in muscles. By having the deep Myofacial release, it gives me relief from pain and it offers freedom of motion. More blood flow allows for more healing to happen.
Trigger point therapy is often addressed with sustained, deep pressure and it can be uncomfortable. You can still address those pain areas with a lighter touch, still has to be firm. You can work them out slowly by kneading, and lifting and palpating those areas. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Massage is accumulative, it builds on itself. So it’s a good idea that if you’re going to try massage as one of your methods to deal with Fibromyalgia that you would want to do at least, I would suggest four sessions starting possibly with only a half hour working up to more complex therapies and see what results you would actually get. One time would probably not give you enough information.
Martin Tamler, M.D.:
Massage is extremely helpful; it’s one of probably top treatments that universally Fibromyalgia patients will say was beneficial to them.
It definitely helps to relieve the pain. It’s very good for both the physical body and for the mind.