Like most people with Fibromyalgia, I do a lot of different things to manage my Fibromyalgia symptoms, and one thing I like to do at least once a month is get a nice 60 or 90 minute full-body massage. I find it helps loosen-up my muscles, eases my pain, and also usually helps me get a good's night sleep afterwards since I schedule my massages in the evenings and then go home and go to sleep right afterwards.
There is a lot of information out there about how massages can help relieve Fibromyalgia pain and other symptoms (seriously, a quick google search will bring back about 6,090,000 results) and I would have to agree. I first started experiencing chronic pain when I was 14, and just a few years later I discovered massages, and I've been going regularly ever since.
When I go too long without a massage I can feel my pain worsening, which screws up my sleep, which screws up pretty much everything else, so I try to get one at least once a month. Ideally, I'd go every week or two, but massages aren't cheap (I have a monthly membership so I get a fairly lower than usual rate, but it's still requires budgeting)- but boy is it worth it for me. I honestly think that regular massages are one of the best tools in my arsenal against Fibro.
I know for a lot of people massages aren't an option because they are too sensitive, but even a light touch can help relax you and temporarily ease some of your discomfort. I like my massage therapists to use a mixture of Swedish massage and deep tissue to help break up some knots but also to promote circulation and help me and my muscles relax, and there are a lot of types of massages out there depending on what you need and what works for you.
Usually before I go, I'll put on some music, do a light stretch to start to loosen up and drink some water (I also drink water afterwards to help flush out the toxins being released from my muscles during the massage). If I'm feeling particularly bad or want to be extra fancy, I'll add a few drops of an essential oil into my water to add another element into my relaxation/preparation. When I can, I like to try to make it the best experience it can be for me so I get as much out the massage/experience as I can. (Full disclosure, this doesn't always happen. Sometimes I'm busy or feel too crappy and just go get the massage and go home, but making a massage a fun high-vibe experience feels great to me so I try to do it more often than not.)
If you haven't tried a massage yet, or haven't had one in some time, I'd encourage you to give it a try- and to be vocal during your session about the pressure and any sensitive spots you may have, your massage therapist will work with you to give you the help you need! I know when I first started getting massages I was sometimes too shy to speak up if a sensitive area needed a lighter touch or a knot needed more pressure- but I'm not now. I'm paying to receive a service to help me manage my symptoms, I deserve to get what I want and what I need from that service- and the therapist wants to help you get what you need from the massage as well, they want to give you a good massage, they want you to feel better, so working together for the best experience just makes the most sense all around.
If you currently use massage therapy to help you manage your symptoms, feel free to share with us how often you like to go, what types of massage work best for you, and any other helpful tidbits out there you like to add to your massage routine for us to share and learn from.
Like I said, this is just one of the things I do to help me, and I'll write more about the specific things I do to manage my Fibro over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for more and sign-up for our newsletter to receive our blog updates in your inbox!
Heather, Fabulous Fibro-Fighter and FSC Founder