If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you may be searching for relief from symptoms that range from fatigue to severe muscle and joint pain. One way many individuals have found help is through Chinese massage (also sometimes called Asian massage), which is fortunately available today at many spas and salons, and even through some healthcare systems. Here's a look at the basics of Chinese massage and how it can relieve fibromyalgia symptoms so you can feel better.
What is Chinese massage?
Chinese massage, in many ways, is somewhat similar to acupuncture (so it's also a great alternative if you're not thrilled about using needles to treat fibromylagia). It works by applying pressure, massage strokes, or heat to gross areas of soft tissue as well as to what practitioners believe are energy lines (meridians) in the body--energy lines that correspond to fluid channels in the body that affect many aspects of bodily function. The intention is to open the body's energy, especially to areas that are inflamed, blocked, or in pain.
There are several different basic schools of Chinese massage, as well as different techniques used to achieve the same effects. When seeking out a Chinese massage therapist, you should inquire about their techniques to see if they sound like something that would be comfortable or enjoyable for you. Some typical Chinese massage elements include
- head massage
- shoulder and neck massage
- acupressure (also known as reflexology) on the ears, hands, and feet
- full-body massage with the hands
- hot bamboo massage
- back massage with the feet
How does Chinese massage work for fibromyalgia?
Different massage techniques can work to relieve different aspects of fibromyalgia. For example, gentle full-body massage may feel wonderful if you experience all-over aches and pains or have muscular tension and joint pain. Head and shoulder massage is used to treat tension and stress, which can be triggers for fibromyalgia flares.
Reflexology uses small, precise spots on the ears, hands, and feet to treat discomfort or dysfunction in other areas of the body. During hot bamboo massage, the therapist rolls a warm stick of bamboo over the body to allow both the heat and the pressure to provide soft tissue relief. Some back massages are performed with the therapist actually walking on the patient's back, while holding onto rails in the ceiling above the massage table.
Another good discussion to have with a potential Chinese massage therapist is about your specific symptoms, so they can match the right techniques with your personal concerns. Certain types of massage therapy may even be able to help with internal fibromyalgia symptoms, such as irritable bowel syndrome and chronic fatigue.
If you've been frustrated with the inability of Western medicine to treat your fibromyalgia, why not give Asian massage by Bodycare Therapy a try? Many of the techniques have been in existence for thousands of years, and they are now being studied as adjuncts to modern medicine that can work almost immediately to help you.