The pain from ME and Fibro, is horrific. At its worst, it feels like all muscles are terribly sunburned. This is accompanied by deep bone pain and the feeling of being stabbed all over my body by millions and millions of pins. All at the same time.
I must admit, initially I did not realize all of the benefits massage could provide. I knew it would be relaxing as well as helping my sore aching muscles, but I didn't realize that was only the tip of the iceberg.
Before I go on, I do need to mention in my province, Registered Massage Therapists (RMT) are highly trained (at least 2200 classroom hours). They take part in several outreach clinics in various settings during their training, they are thoroughly tested by the educating institution and must also successfully pass (with at least 70%) extensive examinations (both practical and written) by the regulatory board. To say they really know their stuff, is an understatement.
This is not the standard everywhere, unfortunately. Some countries do not require any registration and training consists of very few hours. This type of massage is for relaxation purposes only. Some spas are like this too. There is nothing wrong with this of course, as long as it's a relaxation massage you are after. It's important to know the difference. For my issues, I needed a health-care professional to be part of my healing team. A full RMT.
They are trained in all areas of the body and they do a full assessment before the first treatment. They take your health history and then devise a personalized treatment plan.
My RMT can tell where I hurt, just by the feel of my tissues. This was a bit unnerving at first as I didn't have to tell her where I hurt -- she just knew!
For me, the areas she has helped are:
Lymphatic System -- ME affects my lymphatic system, big time. Regular massage has helped decrease my swelling, which increases my mobility. Love it!
Muscles -- As mentioned earlier in this post, my muscles hurt a lot. I can be in immense pain going into the massage and completely pain free leaving the massage.
Costochondritis - Complete relief and hopefully healing (this is an ongoing process). Costochondritis affects the muscles in and around the ribs and is quite painful. I could barely stand for more than a few minutes and it was continuing to get worse. It's difficult to accurately describe, but suffice to say it felt like gravity was pulling my chest down and trying to hold it up caused me to become short of breath. After just a few minutes of standing, I'd be panting like I had been running. I'd have to lay down frequently just to catch my breath. It continued to worsen to the point I wondered if there was a problem with my lungs or perhaps I was having a heart attack.
In passing one day, I said to my RMT, "it feels like there's a tight jacket around my ribs preventing me from taking in a breath". That's all she needed to hear and seemed to know exactly what the problem was, inviting me to get on the table so she could take a look. I didn't really think massage would help this issue (and wasn't my reason for telling her in the first place), but I'm not one for turning down a massage, so up on the table I got.
Even though my body and rib area did not feel sore, it felt like horrible bruises were already there when she started working on it -- and she was barely touching it! She was shocked at how many knots were there, but she continued to gently work on it. Not too far into it, she said she should stop for that day as I would feel it the next day (and I did!) but when I got up off the table -- I could BREATHE!!
It was shocking as well as amazing and I was so very thankful. This was not a quick fix mind you, we've been working on it twice a month for five months now. There is still a bit of tightness and soreness (ongoing part of ME and Fibro) but I feel we have it under control. I am able to stand upright and breathe for longer periods of time, something I haven't been able to do for a long time. Who knew being able to breathe would feel like such a luxury.
General well-being -- Massage helps relax me. Sometimes I am sore the next day (think muscles that have been tight for a long time, suddenly relaxed) but day three is Ah-mazing!! It helps me sleep better, improves my digestion and my total feeling of well being.
I can't say enough about the healing benefits of massage, given by a professional, highly-trained, Registered Massage Therapist.
Relaxing and Healing in order to promote
Balance....Despite the Chaos!