Massage therapy is well-known for helping people with relaxation, but it’s also a great therapeutic treatment for a variety of health conditions. Fibromyalgia is a great example of this! While massage therapy is a good way to care for multiple chronic pains, the lack of medication to treat fibromyalgia means that this is an especially important disorder for massage therapists to know about. Read more to learn about fibromyalgia and how massage therapy can help!
What is Fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and can be accompanied by memory and mood problems, cognitive difficulties, fatigue, and more. Although there is no definitive explanation of why people experience this pain, doctors believe that it is related to an abnormal increase of chemical levels in the brain that signal pain. This means that they might be more sensitive to pain. Patients who have fibromyalgia will often experience these painful sensations for long periods of time, making doctors suspect that they have fewer cells than normal that help slows the pain signals down. While the causes of fibromyalgia aren’t known, doctors have found common factors that can make a person more likely to have this disease. These may be:
- Emotional or physical trauma
- Infections or illnesses
- Anxiety or depression
- Gender (women are more likely to have this disease than men)
Depending on the person, symptoms of fibromyalgia may happen suddenly due to a traumatic event or illness, or these could build up slowly over time. The pain and inability to concentrate on everyday tasks can make this a frustrating disease, especially since many people don’t understand the extent of what people have to endure.
How Can Massage Therapy Help People With Fibromyalgia?
Since doctors are still researching more about this disease, there is no known cure. While certain medications may help, people with fibromyalgia often need to look for other ways to alleviate their pain. That’s why massage therapy can be an amazing relief to people suffering from this disease.
Massage is known for helping people with issues like reducing stress, decreasing levels of anxiety and depression, and relieving pain throughout different areas of the body. These are all things that can help control fibromyalgia and with massage, people could be receiving this relief through natural medicine. As well as helping with these common problems, massage also offers another benefit by releasing endorphins. This is a great way to help specifically with fibromyalgia because endorphins act as the body’s natural painkillers!
Which Massage Techniques Help?
There are many different types of massage that help people with fibromyalgia. Some of them are:
- Swedish massage
- Trigger point
- Myofascial release
- Sports massage
There have been multiple studies that talk about the benefits people with fibromyalgia can have after being treated with Swedish massages. This therapy works great for this because it can help promote blood flow to multiple areas of the body, which could alleviate some pain from this disease.
Along with Swedish massage, trigger point therapy is one of the most common massage techniques that are used to treat fibromyalgia symptoms. With this treatment, massage therapists can focus on the areas of the body that are causing their clients the most pain and apply the appropriate pressure to help reduce their discomfort.
How to Treat People With Fibromyalgia
If you have a patient suffering from this disorder, then you might want to think about approaching their massage differently from your other patients. Make sure to regularly check in with your client to ensure that you’re not causing their pain to become even worse. Not everyone with fibromyalgia experiences it the same so it’s the massage therapist’s responsibility to decide how they can best treat each individual client. Communication in massage is key, especially when dealing with this disorder.
Want to Help People Through Massage?
Do you want to help people with disorders like fibromyalgia through the healing methods of massage therapy? Our program could be a great option for you! We teach students a variety of techniques so they can feel prepared to enter whatever area of the massage industry they’re most passionate about. Contact us to learn more about how you can get started!