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5 Benefits of Massage for Fibromyalgia

The main symptom of fibromyalgia is pain, which can range from mild to severe – characterized as shooting, burning or a deep, unrelenting ache. Soft tissue around joints may develop tender points. Pain can improve during the daytime and worsen at night, although for some people the pain remains all day.

Almost all fibromyalgia patients suffer from hallmark symptoms: restless sleep, fatigue and cognitive issues. Other common symptoms include headaches, anxiety and depression. Although symptoms can improve, fibromyalgia is a long-term disorder with pain and symptoms continuing years.

Although there is no cure for this painful syndrome, pain can be managed by massage:

  • Improved muscles tonicity -will aid lethargic muscles and help restore strength and vitality. Will improve mental clarity – can raise awareness and relieve mental stress
  • Headache relief – improving blood flow to the brain
  • Diminish the effects of any anxiety or depression
  • Improve sleep -sessions done in the evening will allow better sleep

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What is Kinesiology Taping?

Kinesiology tape is stretchy and was designed to mimic the skin’s elasticity so you can use you full range of motion. Kinesiology taping creates a lift that unloads the underlying tissues. Decompressing those tissues can change the signals going to the brain and will respond differently. Trigger points are a good example. Therapists have used kinesiology tape to lift the skin over these tense, knotted muscles. When the area is decompressed, pain receptors send a new signal to the brain, and tension in the trigger point decreases.

A 2017 study showed that kinesiology taping can improve blood flow in the skin. It may also improve circulation of lymphatic fluids. Lymphatic fluid is mostly water, but it also contains proteins, bacteria, and other chemicals. The lymphatic system is the way your body regulates swelling and fluid buildup.

The theory is that when kinesiology tape is applied, it creates extra subcutaneous space, which changes the pressure gradient in the area underneath your skin. That change in pressure enhances the flow of lymphatic fluid.

Taping is also used to treat injuries to alleviate pain and swelling, as well as to support weak areas by adding extra support to muscles and joints that need it. Kinesiology tape lets you continue to move normally and possibly enhance movement and endurance. If you have lost function of muscles or your muscles have gotten used to an unhealthy way of working, kinesiology tape can help re-train muscles. Some athletes also use taping to help them achieve better performance and protect themselves against injuries when competing.

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Lympathic Drainage

What is Lymphatic drainage?  It is a form of gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body.

The fluid in the lymphatic system helps remove waste and toxins from the bodily tissues. Some health conditions can cause lymph fluid to build up. Lymphatic drainage massages can benefit people with lymphedema, fibromyalgia, and other conditions.

As the heart pumps blood through the blood vessels, the lymphatic system relies on the movement of smooth muscles to transport fluid through the lymph vessels.  Some health conditions can interrupt normal flow of lymph, causing fluid build up in a particular area of the body, called lymphedema.

People can develop lymphedema as a result of infections, cancer treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes, and any condition that damages the lymphatic system. Massage can reduce swelling and improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system. 

Who can benefit?

Lymphatic drainage massage can benefit people who are experiencing the following:

  • lymphedema
  • fibromyalgia
  • swelling or edema
  • skin disorders
  • fatigue
  • insomnia
  • stress
  • digestive problems
  • arthritis
  • migraine episodes

At Discover Wellness Massage Therapy we can help you. 

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Bad Posture or Tight Muscle? What’s the Difference?

by Jack Johnston, RMT at Discover Wellness

One of the most common things clients tell me when we first meet is that they are experiencing discomfort in their neck and shoulder and they KNOW that it’s because they have BAD posture. If they were just more mindful of how they positioned themselves in the office or while driving to work, they are confident things would be so much better. While I agree that proper static posture while seated is beneficial, if we’re all so knowledgeable in this area then why do so many of us still suffer from “posture related” neck and shoulder discomfort?

First let’s quickly breakdown posture and tight muscles before we dive into this too deep.

Posture is more then just a snapshot of you at your worst hunched over your computer desk working away on an assignment. Posture is dynamic and always changing.

When we talk of muscle tone, we are often referring to the tissue quality of the muscle in question. This is also able to change over time, depending on the movements we perform regularly. Too many of the same movements can result in muscle tissue with too much tone or tightness. To a massage therapist, the muscle in question will feel stiff compared to an adequately toned muscle that is often described as loose or supple.

What we often refer to as “bad posture” may be a change in tissue quality around a joint that has yet to cause the individual pain or discomfort. However, what the “bad posture” label fails to identify is the need to address the poor tissue quality before the joint can once again have “good posture”.

SO.. how can you tell when somebody has an issue with tissue quality?

When patients are lying on the massage table, a good indication of tissue quality is the positioning of the shoulder joint itself.

Figure 1: (Left) Shoulder sitting forward (noticed how it is raised off the table). (Right) Patient with optimal balance between front and back shoulder muscles (notice how the shoulder is almost completely resting on the table)

What do I do to help address this issue?

In my experience, patients that present with rounded shoulders are dealing with overly tight internal rotator muscles. These include your pecs, lats and subscap. From here on out to I’ll simply refer to them as the Big 3.

Figure 2: Big 3 Internal Rotators of the Shoulder

To address this, I spend a lot of time reaching in patients’ armpits (yes, you have muscles in your armpit, in fact, these are very important muscles if this applies to you!) to help address the tissue quality, or, abundance of tone, likely present in The Big Three. This helps patients’ shoulders sit back in a more neutral position naturally without any effort to “pinch the shoulder blades” together.

What good is knowing about good posture if poor tissue quality in your shoulders are limiting you from implementing all the wonderful knowledge you have about good positioning?

Does this sound like something that could benefit you? Want to book in with one of our talented therapists? Do you completely disagree? Did you feel bogged down by all the science jargon? Either way, we’d love to hear from you at info@orilliamassage.com