Fibromyalgia And Massage Therapy



Over three million Americans have been diagnosed with having fibromyalgia annually. This is primarily muscular pain – but not just any kind of pain that is specific to a muscle. The pain is widespread, and there is heightened sensitivity to most, if not all, kinds of stimuli, which often leads to pain, trouble sleeping, and other symptoms. There are also various treatments that can be done that are equally capable of alleviating some of these symptoms.

However, FM is not a simple disorder, which is why dealing with individuals with FM can be more or less similar to dealing with individuals who are diagnosed with chronic or severe health conditions. You will need more knowledge and information on how the condition affects a person, and how massage therapy can positively affect him.

Read on and learn some fruitful results of current studies about fibromyalgia and the role of massage therapy in relieving individuals of their symptoms.


Fibromyalgia Defined

Fibromyalgia is a condition that presents with generalized muscular pain and tenderness. Its symptoms also include a tension headache, fatigue, irritable bowel syndrome, and cognitive difficulties. “In addition to chronic muscular pain and stiffness, this ailment can also cause fatigue, sleep disorders, depression, and an inability to think clearly,” says William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR.

Remarkably, current studies on fibromyalgia are revealing that it is, in fact, a condition that is rooted from the central nervous system, despite the evidence that muscular pain is the primary symptom. It has been revealed through more proof that in FM, there is damage to the pain pathways of the central nervous system, as opposed to the explanation that it is an autoimmune disease of the peripheral tissues. “Fibromyalgia may last for years, and slowly but persistently diminish the ability to carry out the normal activities of life,” Judith J. Wurtman Ph.D. notes.

Experts have come to this idea because individuals with FM are hypersensitive to any kind of stimulus, not just to touch or to mechanical pressure. According to Dr. Michael Schneider, Associate Professor at the Pittsburgh University, FM patients do not only present with tenderness to touch and mechanical pressure. They are sensitive to almost all stimuli, including light and sound, and may even have food allergies, chemical sensitivity, and cold and heat intolerance.


Statistics On Fibromyalgia

Women have a higher likelihood of developing fibromyalgia than men, although it is not as simple as that. The probability that a person will have FM is unknown, but there are two elements that appear related – personal trauma and genetics. Genetics is easy to understand. The condition may run in families.

Personal trauma, on the other hand, needs a bit more explaining. Some researchers suggest that there might be a connection between FM and posttraumatic stress disorder. They came up with this theory after doing a study on 600 individuals with FM, where the results showed the presence of FM symptoms on those who have experienced sexual or physical abuse and emotional trauma. They further reiterated the fact that the trauma on these patients may have activated the brain’s limbic system and caused it to overdrive, leading to hypersensitivity.


Fibromyalgia Treatment

Sadly, there is no one cure for all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, which is why individuals with FM utilize various methods to relieve themselves of their pain. According to Chad S Boomershine, MD, PhD, “When patients with fibromyalgia fully understand the nature of the disease, they are more likely to comply with treatment and to take an active role in managing the disease.” One of the popular alternative therapies that are non-medical is massage therapy.

Massage therapy, through years of research and studies, has proven to be among the most sought-after approaches that have yielded many benefits to individuals with FM. A 2011 study showed that after a series of massage sessions, people claimed that their sensitivity to pain and their anxiety levels reduced considerably. It also allowed them to get better sleep. A follow-up study in 2014 resulted in FM patients testifying that massage therapy had instantly relieved them from their pain, depression, and anxiety, especially when the approach was focused on the soft tissues. It also improved their flexibility and overall lymph and blood circulation.


The Role Of Massage Therapy

Again, there is not one particular method that is found to be more effective in treating FM compared to other methods, although the myofascial release has shown to be slightly helpful. Seasoned therapists suggest that new massage therapists must not only prepare the most popular techniques but as many techniques that they can arm themselves with. As the saying goes, “There’s no one size fits all.”

For people who have been living with fibromyalgia, they say that the amount of pressure placed during massage is one vital component in the relief of their pain. It is imperative that the therapist and patient should communicate with each other regarding this matter, as some would be more hypersensitive than the others. There are some people who can’t stand even the mildest pressure and just go for ‘light.’ Additionally, the tone of voice of the therapist also affects the patient’s comfort, including the feel of the room (music, light in the room, etc.).


As a massage therapist, you should be sensitive to the needs of your patients – and they do have needs that are different from each other. Meaning that what works for one may not work for the other, so be a good communicator. Listen, speak clearly, and be compassionate in your goal to help them have a better and more comfortable life with fibromyalgia.





Massage Therapy – What Makes It Essential?

People often consider massage therapy because they somehow know that it feels good. Aside from being affordable, it’s entirely easy to perform as well. But do you know that there are essentials things about massage that makes people want to experience it? According to Wayne Jonas, M.D., “Massage therapy is rubbing or pressing the soft tissues of your body—muscle, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments, and skin—to enhance health and well being.” He explains that massage therapy should only be “…done by trained and certified medical professionals.” Here is the compiled list that you need to know.

It Supports Better Breathing And Reduces Headache – When we get stressed and anxious about things in our life, we tend to feel suffocated. That’s why we often lose track of the importance of breathing. In fortunate circumstances, massage therapy is an excellent way to revitalize the respiratory system. It allows better breathing that also involuntarily trains the lungs to relax. Aside from that, massage is proven to ease the pressure, making it suitable for chronic headaches and migraine treatment.


Relieves Stress And Encourages Relaxation Of the Muscles – Since stress relief is the key to an essential lifestyle, massage therapy is a great solution. It lowers heart rate, controls insulin and cortisol levels, and relaxes the muscles. It significantly creates a significant change in overall physical, emotional, and mental needs. Massage has been clinically proven to sooth the persistent root pain of tense muscles. “The anxiety-reducing and mood enhancing benefits of massage are probably related to changes in EEG activity, decreased levels of cortisol and increased activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts automatically to calm the body and brain during stress,” explains James Lake, M.D. “Numerous studies show that moderate pressure massage is more effective than light pressure massage for reducing pain associated with different medical problems including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.” It helps in complete physical recovery and medication. It often aids neck and back pain as well

Improves Posture And Blood Circulation – Some massage therapy targets a particular part of the body. It helps in correcting it too. Therefore, it can also potentially reinforce a natural and healthy movement of the body. In that case, it can get the posture back on proper position. Since its effect lingers long after it is over, it aids adequate blood circulation to improve body function. That’s because every massage strokes target the congested areas of the veins. It helps lowering down blood pressure too.


Improves Flexibility And Increase Immunity – Our joints tend to tighten as we age. It restricts us from making a range of motion that requires body flexibility. Good thing that massage helps in keeping the joints stable by reducing the unnecessary fluids in it. When there’s no too much fluid, then there is less chance of getting internal injuries in the joints. Studies also indicate that the more you indulge the mind and body on massage therapy, the more it increases the immune system naturally.  That is due to the stabilization of cytotoxic capacity of the immune system that controls the level of both the body’s natural healthy and killer cells.

It Aids Post-Operative And After Injury Rehabilitation – Since massage therapy is the best-known treatment for a lot of physical and mental related health issue, it becomes vital in the medical field. Jeffrey E. Barnett, Psy.D., ABPP, and Allison J. Shale, M.S. wrote, “Massage therapy is a manual procedure that involves manipulating the body’s soft tissue as a way to relieve tension and pain as well as anxiety and depression.” They added, “Massage therapists use their hands, fingers and sometimes their forearms or feet as a way to “relieve pain, rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness.” Its capability to help pump up oxygen is beneficial in obtaining more nutrients that can support essential organs and tissues of the body. The continual massage program process accelerated results too. Therefore, this makes massage a great supplement to people undergoing continuous treatment and recovery sessions.


Massage therapy is not just about getting the kind of relaxation you want. There’s more to it than that. Try engaging in massage therapy and experience its benefits.

Common Illnesses That Make A Massage Unsuitable For You 

A massage is nothing short of a lifesaver for many people. 

“Massage can be a sumptuous delight that treats your body’s aches and pains. But it can also be an effective choice of treatment for a number of psychological issues: depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity, and posttraumatic stress, to name a few,” said Stephen L. Salter, PsyD.

In case you have seen Lady Gaga’s documentary already, then you know that she often travels with a masseuse to relieve some of the pain brought by fibromyalgia. A few studies have also shown that getting a massage on a regular basis can ease anxiety and depression. Furthermore, the more you receive a rub down, the faster your stress may dissipate. That is essential for a great sleep and a robust immune system, to be honest.  




Continue reading “Common Illnesses That Make A Massage Unsuitable For You “

Benefits Of Massage Therapy That You Ought To Know About 

In spite of the different fields that people work in, the daily routine that everyone follows is pretty much the same. When your alarm clock goes off, you barely have time to exercise, shower and prepare and eat your first meal of the day. At your workplace, it is rare to see your desk empty as new projects come before you can complete the existing ones. If there are suffocating deadlines to meet, you might have to stay past the eight-hour mark to finish all the work. Thus, once you hit the road and reach your home, you may not even get to remove your clothes before passing out in bed.


Continue reading “Benefits Of Massage Therapy That You Ought To Know About “

Simple But True Things To Remember When Getting A Massage 

Massage therapy has a multitude of benefits, and you might be interested to try it for yourself.  According to a study by Tiffany Field, PhD, “Massage therapy is one of the most effective and widely used alternative therapies. Although most massage therapy sessions are for pain, recent research suggests that it is effective for other conditions including growth of premature infants, ADHD, depression, and immune conditions, most especially cancer.”

In case you have only gotten a glimpse of a massage room on TV, and you’re about to try it now, many questions may be running in your head. After all, it’s hard to believe that you only need to lie down on the table and the masseuse already knows what you want.  




Continue reading “Simple But True Things To Remember When Getting A Massage “

Signs That A Massage May Be Necessary In Your Life

Isn’t it mesmerizing how a believer and non-believer of massages talk about the practice?

The former goes, “Hey, there’s a new spa around the corner. Let’s try their massage therapy on Saturday – it will be my treat.” Then, the latter waves his or her hand and says, “Ugh, take someone else with you. Watching Netflix and eating a box of pizza on my own is my kind of weekend.”




Well, first of all, that is sad. Instead of hanging out with real people, you choose to binge-watch and gain extra pounds. Second of all, a friend is giving you a chance to get a massage for free. You only need to be at the place and let people take care of you. It’s not stress-free to find a generous fellow like that.

Nevertheless, it is apparent that you won’t ever go to a spa for no other reason even if anyone offers to pay you a million bucks. Thus, we have compiled the signs that a massage may be a necessity in your life right now.




  1. You Rarely Leave Your Work Desk

No matter what your job is, your posture when you are working in front of a computer or writing notes is the same as everyone else’s. You slightly bend your head down to see what you are doing correctly. Your shoulders curve forward, depending on how far your arms are from the table. Your spine may also be arching backward often when you don’t catch yourself slumping a bit. And all of these things you with your butt plastered on a chair for more or less eight hours.

Over time, your body will remember this type of posture, and it will be a challenge for you to straighten out your back and neck. That is why you need a massage – to have a professional relax your muscles, to the extent that you’ll be able to sit and walk straight easily again.

“Maybe your lower back aches from sitting too much in front of a computer. Massage can be a sumptuous delight that treats your body’s aches and pains,” wrote Stephen L. Salter, PsyD.

  1. You Cannot Sleep Well

Some assume that sleeping is one of the most effortless tasks in the world. You lie down, and sleep naturally comes to you. Play soft music, and you can doze off like a baby.

However, you cannot underestimate how hard it is to shut your eyes and drift off to la-la land when your muscles are aching. If it’s your legs, you don’t know whether you should go into a fetal position or keep them dangling out of bed. If it’s your back, you may only be able to rest after putting many pillows underneath you or laying sideways.

The thing is, you cannot take mefenamic acid or sleeping pills forever to relieve the pain. They may have side effects, which will appear months or years later. You better allow a masseuse to soothe your tensed muscles so that sleeping won’t be a hassle for you.

Researches have shown how effective massage can be for various health concerns. Tiffany Field, PhD, wrote, “[I]n a study on pain management in hospital inpatients from medical, surgical and obstetrics units, significant reductions in pain were reported (50% reduction on visual analog scales) accompanied by less sleep disturbance.”

  1. You Feel Stressed Out On A Daily Basis

Don’t you notice a drastic change in your behavior when stress overwhelms your system?

Your typically patient self-becomes temperamental. You hold grudges to people around you even if their single mistake is putting the billing statements on the table or not getting your coffee. Of course, your work performance is not as faultless as before, which may make you even madder and sadder at once.

When everything seems to fall apart for you, perhaps all you truly need is a simple massage. You should relax your muscles to let go of your worries. You cannot do that when you’re staying at home, brooding and throwing popcorn at characters on TV.

James Lake, MD, shared, “In my own clinical experience working with patients who complain of chronic stress, test-taking stress and generalized anxiety, regular massage therapy effectively reduces anxiety, improves emotional resilience and enhances feelings of general well-being in anxious patients.”




Final Thoughts

When you get past the mental image of lying in a table almost entirely naked and letting a masseuse rub you down, you will see that it is good for your well-being. Hopefully, though, the realization will come quickly, especially if you look at these signs within you.



When You’re Looking For A Trustworthy Massage Therapist


Massage therapy involves the art of kneading your sore and stiff muscles to allow the blood to flow through your body tissues. “Massage is widely used in all cultures to evoke feelings of deep relaxation and reduced anxiety,” wrote James Lake, MD. You come to the spa when you cannot straighten your back even though you do not have spinal issues. A rubdown after a full day of labor can also revitalize your system and keep you from getting consumed by stress.

Despite the number of massage places that have sprouted in almost every block, though, it remains challenging to find one with trustworthy masseuses. Some hire new therapists who do not have experience in the field. Others act unprofessionally and talk your ear off about the establishment’s “organic” products and other stuff they sell.

So when you are looking for a massage therapist that you can count on anytime, you should try doing the following.


Know What You Need

Your initial course of action is to figure out why your body is in need of a great massage. “Most people get a massage in order to relax, perhaps a pleasurable way to unwind after a long work week. Others go to address some physical discomfort or injury. Maybe your lower back aches from sitting too much in front of a computer,” wrote Stephen L. Salter, PsyD. Are you exhausted from work? Are your muscles sore from playing sports? Did you notice how bad your posture is getting, and you wish to have it corrected?

Many types of massage therapies are out there. You will be able to meet the best therapist for you faster when you focus on the professionals who might know what you want to be done.

Go To Different Spas

Once you are sure about the kind of massage that you need, you should then visit various massage centers that offer it. Just like when you do experimentations in a science lab, you have to have at least three trials before you make a deduction. You cannot settle for the spa that is closest to your place, primarily if you do not like their services deep down.

Ask About Their Experiences

The thing is, you can get to know a therapist before you even lie down on the massage table. While he or she is preparing stuff in the room, you may inquire if he or she has worked with someone who has the same case as you. In case your masseuse can list the number of times he or she encountered a similar client and speak of how that person improved after a few sessions, then you might feel more inclined to try getting a massage from him or her.

Be Specific About Your Wants

According to Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, ABPP, and Allison J. Shale, MS, “There are several different types of massage, each utilizing slightly different techniques. For example, Swedish massage, the most commonly used form of massage in the United States, involves ‘a combination of long strokes, kneading motion and friction on the layers of muscle just beneath the skin’.”

No matter how skillful the masseuse is, you should not assume that he or she will be able to guess how you want your massage. For example, do you want soft or hard kneading? Where does it hurt? Although the therapist will essentially rub you down all over – if you get a full-body massage, that is – you have to inform the masseuse about your preferences as the session continues.

Get Recommendations From Friends

With massage therapy being a mainstream practice, there is a possibility that some of your friends know a masseuse that they can refer to you. It is ideal if the therapist has been working with them for a while. The number of months or years that your buddies invested on the masseuse can tell you how good he or she may be in this profession. After all, nobody will stick with a massage therapist who does not know how to do his or her job, especially when you can look for a better one elsewhere.


Stop telling yourself that perhaps you are merely not used to getting massages; that’s why you feel uncomfortable. A masseuse who’s worthy of your trust will not do anything to make you uneasy. He or she will notice how tensed your muscles are and ask whether you want to resume the massage or have it next time.

Remember these things when you are looking for a trustworthy masseuse.



Helpful Tips To Appreciate Your First Full-Body Massage

When you have already passed the first quarter of your life and you don’t want to reach the second one without trying the full-body massage for the first time, there is no better opportunity for it than now. Various types of massages, after all, are known for helping a person relax knotted muscles all over the body. Continue reading “Helpful Tips To Appreciate Your First Full-Body Massage”