A recent review of randomized controlled studies has shown that massage is an effective treatment for fibromyalgia sufferers if treatments are frequent (once a week) and consistent (at least five weeks or longer). The length of the massages in the different studies reviewed were from 25 to 90 minutes. The primary findings:
- Pain was significantly reduced at 5 weeks, somewhat lessened for under 5 weeks
- Anxiety was significantly reduced at 5 weeks; no change was seen for less frequent sessions
- Depression was significantly improved at 5 weeks; no change was seen for less frequent sessions
- Sleep disturbance was not affected positively or negatively (at 5 weeks)
Another study found that sleep disturbance was significantly improved by weekly myofascial release massage sessions; the improvement was still evident at 6 months post-treatment. In this case sessions were 90 minutes and the massages were performed weekly for 20 weeks.
The main takeaway is that massage — once a week for a minimum of 5 weeks — is important for positive results in fibromyalgia sufferers, for pain, anxiety and depression. While the client will likely see greater benefits by longer massage sessions (60-90 minutes), clients experiencing severe discomfort may initially only wish to receive short (30 minute) sessions, which can still make a big difference.
If you’d like to try massage for your fibromyalgia, you can schedule online or call 240-487-9387. Please contact me if you have any questions or wish to consult about your condition. I am happy to help.
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