Massage, Bodywork, Health and Fitness

Massage Therapy is Good for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a little understood and often painful syndrome. It has been my experience that clients who have fibromyalgia tell me regular massage helps them to feel better with lessened pain, more flexibility and improved sleep.

This is supported by the following study.

June 2006
MASSAGE Magazine
Research: Mechanical Massage Improves Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia patients responded positively to a deep-tissue mobilization provided by a
motorized device at Memorial Hospital of Union County, Marysville, Ohio. “Use of a
Mechanical Massage Technique in the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Preliminary Study”
investigated the effectiveness of this technique on the symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome.
Nine female patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia completed the study. Each participant
received 15 sessions of mechanical massage once a week, for 35 minutes per session. Physical
functioning, days when patients felt good, days of missed work and seven discomfort symptoms
were measured with a patient questionnaire before, at week seven and at the end of the 15-week
period. The patients’ tender points were examined by the investigator at the same intervals. In
addition, after completion of treatment patients were asked whether the treatment was helpful
and whether they wanted to continue.
The mechanical massage technique involved the use of a medical device with a two-roller
aspiration system that draws, rolls and unrolls folds of skin.* Treatment was administered to the
whole body with particular attention to tender points.
To measure physical functioning, days when patients felt good, and days of missed work, a
patient questionnaire was used. This Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire showed significant
improvement in all areas, by averages of at least 50 percent, except days of missed work. The
tender- points examination yielded similar results, with a mean improvement of 50 percent. After
completing the treatment, 88.9 percent of the patients reported that the treatment was “very” or
“enough” helpful and wanted to continue.
The authors conclude that the results of this preliminary study “support the need for a
controlled clinical trial on a larger population to determine its efficacy.”
* This device is commonly used to treat burns to prevent skin contraction and loosen scar
tissue, and to reduce the appearance of cellulite in a process called endermology.
— Source: Memorial Hospital of Union County, Marysville, Ohio; LPG Systems, Sophia
Antipolis, France. Authors: Chrisanne Gordon, M.D.; Clélia Emiliozzi, Ph.D.; Marie Zartarian,
M.D. Originally published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Vol. 87, No. 1,
January 2006, pp. 145–147.

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