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More than six million Americans suffer from fibromyalgia, and of that number, over 90 percent are women.   Fibromyalgia is associated with widespread chronic pain, fatigue, memory problems and mood changes. The good news is that it is a syndrome that can be managed. Fibromyalgia is not life threatening and does not lead to muscle or joint damage.

Some patients may experience headaches, anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to bright lights, loud noises, and strong odors. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, new research shows that massage therapy can help. A recent study suggests that massage therapy is able to increase quality of life and decrease pain for fibromyalgia sufferers. Fibromyalgia patients who received massage therapy treatments reported improvement in anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain and quality of life.

Massage therapy concentrates on techniques that encourage circulation in the muscles, which increases the flow of nutrients and eliminates waste products. This is particularly beneficial for those with fibromyalgia as it can reduce heart rate, relax muscles, improve range of motion in joints and increase production of the body’s natural painkillers.

Massage therapists can integrate a variety of massage techniques specific to fibromyalgia. Depending on your sensitivity levels and tender points, your therapist may also use reflexology as part of your therapy.

One of the main complaints of fibromyalgia sufferers is waking up tired, even if it seems you’ve received plenty of sleep. After a therapeutic massage you’re likely to feel more relaxed and will get a better night’s rest. Deep sleep is truly beneficial to managing fibromyalgia as it is during sleep that healing occurs. A therapeutic massage will help you wake more refreshed, but may also help you to experience less pain during the day.

Studies also show that low-impact exercise programs give people with fibromyalgia relief by raising the levels of natural chemicals in the body that reduce pain and fatigue. As part of your therapy, it may be beneficial to get a massage that utilizes stretching and relaxation as part of the treatment.

When you receive a massage, not only does each session feel great, but the therapeutic benefits grow when massage is utilized as a frequent therapy. The more you go, the healthier you feel. For fibromyalgia sufferers, relief is in sight!

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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