If you’ve ever turned to a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) in a moment of need, you know they can work wonders, helping to reduce pain, relieve stress and minimize anxiety. RMTs use specific techniques to relax muscles, increase endorphins, blood circulation and range of motion.
But did you know the care of an RMT can extend beyond the temporary relief of pain or stress? Studies show there are a number of conditions and diseases massage therapy can help.
We’ve put together a list of the most common diseases massage therapy can help:
Disease #1: Common Cold & Flu
While most of us recover in just a few days, everyone knows a cold or flu is not to be underestimated. Once the acute stage of a virus has passed, massage therapy can speed up your recovery. In particular, pressure points around the eyes and sinuses can be treated, increasing blood circulation and helping to relieve congestion.
Disease #2: Arthritis
Arthritis is one of the most common diseases massage therapy can help. Massage therapy can uniquely work as a short-term, drug-free way to help reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis. As it increases blood flow to muscles and improves their range of motion, massage therapy helps with overall mobility and muscle flexibility.
Disease #3: Hypertension
Hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure, is a common ailment that increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other serious conditions. Massage therapy has been shown to help manage hypertension, reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, while providing relief to the nervous system.
Disease #4: Fibromyalgia
Characterized by widespread muscular pain, fibromyalgia causes sleep, memory and mood issues, as well as pervasive fatigue. While pain may deter fibromyalgia patients from seeking out the touch and pressure of massage, an experienced RMT will vary their techniques, according to their patients’ needs. Some will benefit from deep tissue massage, while others will only tolerate a light touch.
Disease #5: Asthma
Marked by chest tightening, wheezing, breathlessness and coughing, asthma is a chronic condition that narrows the airway and makes breathing difficult. Studies show that massage can help some asthma sufferers, helping to rebalance muscles, improve lung function and overall blood circulation.
Disease #6: Bronchitis
When a chest cold settles into the lungs, the respiratory tract can become inflamed with bronchitis. Usually marked by a persistent, productive cough, nasal congestion, fever and headache, bronchitis needs to be taken seriously, as it can easily turn into pneumonia.
While massage should not be used during the acute stage of bronchitis, it can be greatly beneficial during recovery, helping to increase blood flow, bring oxygen to muscles and release fascial tension in the neck, chest and shoulders.
Disease #7: Heart Disease
Massage therapy is generally known to aid in the recovery of heart disease. Beyond providing relaxation and reducing stress hormones, massage therapy can help to lower blood pressure, a fundamental concern in heart disease patients. Still, not all forms of massage are safe for patients who have had heart disease. Be sure to speak to your doctor before you seek treatment and make sure your RMT is both aware of your condition and qualified to treat you safely.
Disease #8: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A condition often caused by repetitive flexion and extension of the wrist—whether caused by keyboard work, repetitive motions on the job or sports such as golf, rowing, or racquetball—carpal tunnel syndrome puts pressure on the median nerve and tendons and can result in tingling and numbness. Massage therapy can help to improve tissue health, range of motion and to stretch shortened muscles in the hand, arm and neck.
Disease #9: Multiple Sclerosis
While evidence that massage therapy helps patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is largely anecdotal, many swear by its ability to reduce stress and relieve pain. MS affects the coating on the nerves, resulting in weakened muscles, difficulty with balance, muscle tremors and much more. Massage therapy can act as a non-invasive treatment to relieve stress, improve blood circulation and muscle function, acting as a supplement to conventional treatment.
Disease #10: Parkinson’s Disease
A degenerative movement disorder, Parkinson’s Disease is characterized by resting tremors, muscle rigidity, changes in speech and more. Because the muscles of Parkinson’s patients are in constant motion, they can suffer from decreased oxygen, increased tension and limited movement. By increasing blood flow, massage therapy can bring oxygen to muscles, helping to facilitate movement and make day to day activities both easier and more enjoyable.
If you, or someone you love, suffer from a condition or disease you think could benefit from massage therapy, first check with your doctor, then seek the care of an experienced Registered Massage Therapist. Massage can be a safe, effective, drug-free complement to your existing treatment plan.
If you suffer from another condition, not listed here, be sure to do you research and speak to your doctor before seeking treatment. With the blessing of your medical provider, you can confidently search for a qualified RMT to help relieve your discomfort.