The primary symptom in fibromyalgia is pain: This is what makes the diagnosis different from chronic fatigue syndrome, ME, or post viral fatigue. Pain can be experienced differently: It can vary from one person to another, and it can change according to multiple factors. Fibromyalgia often involves a constant widespread burning sensation throughout the body. It is often felt within muscle tissue but can also develop within joints, nerves, and other areas. Pain levels are affected by biochemical changes within the body, changes in psychological and emotional state, and activity levels.
Massage for Fibromyalgia
Remedial massage for fibromyalgia is a highly effective, simple, method for reducing and controlling pain. As someone who has experienced fibromyalgia, my opinion is that it is in the top three strategies for recovery.
For massage to be effective,it needs to be used as a regular treatment schedule for maintaining health. Think of it as a type of analgesia; if you were taking a tablet you would not stop taking it and still expect it to work. The same principle applies; single, or infrequent, sessions will not provide the same level of effectiveness as having regular sessions.
Massage helps to actively reduce pain on multiple levels: First it reduces the active stress response within the body, reducing stress-related symptoms and biochemical changes in the body. It also increases feelings of well-being due to endorphin release, associated with deeper levels of relaxation. This helps to boost psychological well-being, which is associated with a decreased perception of pain.
The physical manipulation of body tissues directly releases pain caused by excess muscular tension. There is usually a high level of muscular tension in people who have fibromyalgia. This frequently shows up in the neck, shoulders and back, but can also be widespread. Muscular tension occurs as a direct result of intense emotional stress, and also because of biochemical changes. Releasing tension allows the body to move more freely, and simultaneously relieves pressure on nerves and joints.
Cellular changes also play a significant role in fibromyalgia pain, especially where it is experienced as a constant burning pain. In this instance, massage can help by increasing circulation to the affected areas, improving nutrient absorption, and eliminating toxins and lactic acid from the muscles. When done on a regular basis, this will help to improve the health of muscles, and reduce or eliminate pain.
Frequency of Therapy
I have provided therapeutic massage for people with fibromyalgia for ten years, and I usually recommend to start with short sessions (30 mins) every 1-2 weeks initially. Pain can sometimes become worse initially due to an impaired ability for detoxification, so it is very important to time the interval between sessions according to clinical symptoms. So its important to visit an experienced practitioner who can monitor your progress, and listen to their advice. A long term maintenance plan would usually require massage every 2-4 weeks, alongside a health plan which may involve additional measures at home.