Massage Therapy and Fibromyalgia

scarlson By scarlson, 23rd May 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Alternative Medicine

Massage therapy can help fibromyalgia sufferers manage their symptoms more effectively.

What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is said to be a chronic and painful condition that produces musculoskeletal pain and tenderness at specific locations in the body, pain and swelling in the joints, chronic sleep problems and fatigue.

The Arthritis Society of Canada suggests that fibromyalgia affects every 3 out of 100 Canadians. Women are at least four times more likely than men to develop fibromyalgia and it typically occurs in people over age 50. Comparitively, fibromyalgia is said to affect approximately 3 to 6 million people in the U.S. today.

Why is massage therapy a beneficial treatment for fibromyalgia?

Massage therapy can help to address most of the symptoms of fibromyalgia:
• increase blood circulation
• increase flexibility
• increase range of motion
• decrease stress and anxiety
• reduce pain, swelling and stiffness
• improve sleep

Massage Therapy Studies on Fibromyalgia Syndrome:

Touch Research Institute studies revealed:

Massage therapy helped to improve sleep patterns, decrease pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression and cortisol levels in adults with fibromyalgia. Sunshine, W., Field, T., Schanberg, S., Quintino, O., Fierro, K., Kuhn, C., Burman, I., and Schanberg, S. (1996). Fibromyalgia benefits from massage theray and transcutaneous electrical stimulation. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2, 18-22.

Fibromyalgia patients slept better, and had lower substance P levels and less pain following a month of biweekly massages. Field, T., Diego, M., Cullen, C., Hernandez-Reif, M., Sunshine, W., & Douglas, S. (2002). Fibromyalgia pain and substance P decrease and sleep improves after massage therapy. Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 8, 72-76.

What can you do to manage the symptoms of fibromyalgia?

• Moderate the quantity and quality of physical activities
• Practice relaxation and stress management techniques
• Find a good massage therapist/nutritionist
• Exercise in moderation (i.e. walking, swimming, yoga)
• Use heating pad/warm showers and baths

© Copyright, Sylvia Carlson, February 2007. Reproduction without permission prohibited. Previously published by


Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Fibromyalgia Treatment, Massage, Massage Therapy, Muscle Pain, Pain Relief

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author avatar Glen Beckel
28th May 2011 (#)

Good comments. I'm always amazed at how few many people look at massage therapy to address fibro.

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author avatar Denise O
24th Sep 2012 (#)

Massage is great for fibro but, unlike the muscle disease I deal with, a relaxing soft touch is the best I hear from those I know that live with the disease. I know I just wrote 'disease' and yes, I know they say syndrome but, just 11 years ago, CMP was a syndrome, now it is a 'real' disease, I could have told them that, just as it is with those that have fibro, time will tell, sadly. Nice info. Thank you for sharing.:)

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