Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I was blessed yesterday to work on a fellow massage therapist who, like me, has fibromyalgia. She called because her body was so achey that she wanted literally leap out of her skin just to get a few moments peace. Having the same affliction, I quite understood her dilemma. Working with fibromyalgia clients is a challenge, one that, with client participation and knowledge of their body's reactions to bodywork, is a challenge worth taking on.
Fibromyalgia, even though it is non-lethal, is literally a chronic body ache that can be "reasonable" one day and "utter misery" the next - or even moment to moment. When the auto-immune system "blesses" individuals with this condition, the body acts in such interesting and difficult ways. One shoulder can hurt like heck while the other feels absolutely fine. The entire body can hurt like a toothache, or, just an elbow, or wrist. There isn't a "fair" distribution of the misery. Fibro disturbs sleep, messes with digestion, elimination, mental processes and so much more. But, massage really helps with being able to cope well mentally and physically with the discomfort, the bloating, etc. that are part and parcel of this medical problem.
Yesterday, my colleague was complaining of the pain and discomfort in her neck and shoulders after a long car trip to visit her family in another state. "I need you to move the stiffness out of my body, and get the 'sludge' movin' again!" was her comment. For her, a gentle combination of craniosacral techniques, ortho-bionomy releases and moderate pressure Swedish massage techniques did the trick, this time. Next time, the combination of techniques may need to be different - more vigorous, even more gentle, or, somewhere in the middle of those extremes. That's the trick to receiving massage when you have fibromyalgia, and, thankfully, my colleague understands that and is able to provide input into her massage about what kind of pressure where is working for her best for each particular massage. Too much pressure on a particular day can create a healing crisis of epic proportions while the same pressure another day will not create an after-effect whatsoever.
Fibromyalgia and massage are a good combination. Massage can aid digestion, elimination, pain relief, and so much more when the client participates in the process by helping the massage therapist understand what, on that particular day, the body is reacting best - whether it is energetic bodywork, or deep tissue massage. Don't shy away from massage because fibro makes your body ache. Instead, investigate what works best for your body and use that bodywork experience to help yourself stay healthier and more functional.