Fibromyalgia is a disorder that consists of pain throughout the entire body as well as concentration/sleep issues, mood problems and fatigue that have lasted for 3+ months. With an estimated 5 million fibromyalgia sufferers in the U.S. alone, many people are searching for alternatives to medication use. While there is currently no “cure” for fibromyalgia, many sufferers have found relief in massage therapy. The benefits of which have been as profound as:
1. Reduced pain
Given that massage therapy relaxes muscle tissues and fibromyalgia is musculoskeletal pain, massage is an obvious choice for decreasing that pain! Massage also increases blood and lymph circulation which increases oxygen delivery throughout the body causing it to function more efficiently.
2. Increased serotonin (aka the “feel good” neurotransmitter)
Human touch has long been shown to have substantial health benefits, including lowered blood pressure and increased serotonin. Since massage therapy combines human touch with muscle relaxation, it produces an even higher level of serotonin, which has countless physical and mental benefits. The increased production of serotonin also helps combat the harmful stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
3. Improved sleep (including increased sleep hours and quality of sleep)
Massage therapy, especially when done later in the day, has the potential to improve sleep drastically. Massage therapy directly causes the body to produce serotonin, which then aids in the production of melatonin, the hormone in your body that controls your sleep and wake cycles.
4. Elevated mood/Decreased depression/anxiety
Massage therapy works as a mood elevator for the simple reason that massage relaxes you resulting in relief from stress, improved mental clarity and lowered blood pressure, which can then lead to decreased depression and anxiety, especially when done regularly.
5. Decreased fatigue
If your pain is reduced, your serotonin is increased and your sleep is improved, naturally you’ll experience much less daily fatigue! Given that fatigue is caused by a lack of sleep and low energy, the relief that massage therapy provides directly counteracts this.
6. Decreased necessity for analgesics (pain relief drugs)
Many patients who begin utilizing massage therapy for pain relief may oftentimes find themselves skipping their usual pain relief medications in favor of massage therapy given that they simply don’t find they need it anymore. Stopping, or lessening, painkiller use will cause your body to begin producing it’s own pain-relieving neurotransmitters again, as well as improve your liver, kidney and brain functions.
7. Improved well-being
It’s simple: increased serotonin and relaxation coupled with decreased pain, fatigue and dependency on pain medication can improve your general well-being substantially — no ifs, ands or buts about it!
At HealthFirst Spine & Wellness, we have licensed and qualified massage therapists who can help guide you towards a pain-free life through massage therapy. Experienced in many different massage styles and techniques, our massage therapists work directly with our doctors to help craft an exact treatment plan for each individual patient’s needs – including fibromyalgia.