How Massage Can Help Fibromyalgia?
Being a fibromyalgia or ‘fibro’ sufferer can feel miserable. It is important to learn to manage your symptoms as much as possible to try and avoid it impacting on your everyday life. This can be easier said than done. Massage can be one way to help manage your symptoms.
What is Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterised by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. People who suffer from this condition are more often female between the ages of 20 to 50.
The main symptom is pain, which can range from mild to severe. It varies from person to person but some people report shooting or burning pains while others complain of a constant deep ache which doesn’t let up. It’s common for joints to feel tender and the pain to get worse at night although some people feel it all day long. Other symptoms can include tiredness, depression, headaches and memory loss.
Why massage for Fibromyalgia?
Massage can boost circulation in your muscles, reduce your heart rate, relax your muscles, improve the range of motion in your joints and increase the production of the body’s natural painkillers, also known as endorphins. All of these effects are positively great for fibro sufferers.
People who have fibro can be extra sensitive to pressure in some parts of their body therefore good communication with your therapist about using the most comfortable pressure. If you’re worried that it will hurt…don’t be. I will always check in with you about the pressure used and can adjust the session to ensure that you are positioned comfortably.
How can sleep help?
Massage can help to promote better sleep, so it follows that if your fibro leaves you waking up tired, even after what you think was a normal night’s sleep, a massage can help. A decent massage will leave you relaxed and promote deeper sleep – and deep sleep helps fibro symptoms because it’s when you enter the deep sleep phase that your body can repair and restore itself.
Boost your mood
During your massage, your body will begin to relax, due to the effects of your parasympathetic nervous system which also allows us to rest and digest. While we are in a relaxed state mentally, we are more likely to experience less tension in our muscles.
Performing myofascial release techniques to your head and neck can offer a gentle way to encourage chronic muscle tension to relax and decrease headaches. Frequent massages can help reduce the intensity of your headaches which can improve your mood and help you to sleep better.
If you’re concerned about whether a massage is a good idea for you, speak to your doctor first.
Myofascial Melt…What is it?
You might have seen Myofascial Melt massage on my services menu and wondered what type of massage that is? This is a type of slow focused massage technique that allows me to target tension in your body in order to “melt” that tissue into a more flexible and relaxed state. I start by performing a visual assessment of your posture and look for chronic holding patterns which helps me to see where your web of fascia has shortened and tightened.
What is fascia?
Fascia is another name for the fibrous connective tissues that you have all over your body. It literally weaves through, is part of, and connects to every type of tissue and organ in our bodies.
It also helps to separate individual muscles within their groups so that they can work independently, and it provides a lubricated surface which allows the muscles to move smoothly against each other.
If you’re inactive for a long time, because of a sedentary lifestyle or have had an illness, injury or emotional trauma, your muscle fascia can start to stick together. This can stop your muscles from moving freely and gives you a tight, stiff feeling. In some cases, this can also limit your mobility. This sticking together and shortening of the fibers can create an immense pressure on your nerves and blood vessels which contributes to your pain and inflammation.
How is it released?
Myofascial Release is a gentle but firm technique which does not force the fascia to move, but instead helps to free up stiff fascia and reduces tension or restriction.
In this type of massage, I feel and stretch slowly down into the tissues, all the time feeling for a glue-like texture which means there’s a ‘sticky’ fascia. In order to create the sustained tension on the tissues, no lotions or oils are used. It’s a very precise massage technique that involves using a gentle yet direct pressure for five to eight minutes while I wait for the tissues to soften and release.
The massage should give your fascia a chance to return to its normal resting length which will feel a lot better, ease any pain or stiffness and allow blood and nerve impulses to flow more freely through the released area. This release allows you to move more freely and helps you to rebalance your posture.
Who benefits from Myofascial Melt Massage ?
If you have issues with your posture, chronic pain, fibromyalgia or past trauma or injury, this type of therapy could be useful. Since most of us have had some type of inury during our lifetimes, this technique is useful for everyone. If the fascial tissue is holding your body in the wrong position, your muscles will struggle to keep you in the correct alignment. Your connective tissue then starts to work harder and this can lead to other problems. A combination of bad posture and gravity lead to extra stresses on your body that can be relieved with myofacial release.
If you have scar tissue from previous injuries, some myofascial techniques might relieve some of the discomfort. In scar tissue, the tissue is laid down in a random pattern, which can cause it to pull on the surrounding tissue. Using fascial therapy can help to release some of the pain and stiffness caused by scar tissue dysfunction.
If you have any questions about how Myofascial Melt can help you, I would be happy to explain in more detail. When sceduling a Myofascial Melt appointiment, arrive a few minutes early as I will do a postural assessment in order to develop a treatment plan before you enter the therapy room for your treatment.