It’s been a looong winter here in NYC – easily forgotten about in the heat of the summer! Even though most of us are hoping for a longer (maybe less hot) summer, changes in seasons happen in the blink of an eye, relatively speaking.
But a lot of us, despite the surrounding changes, can get stuck in a rut — whether it be with a chronic mental or physical ailment, an undesirable situation, or something else in which we feel out of control. h most of us are hoping for a longer (maybe less hot) summer, changes in seasons happen in the blink of an eye, relatively speaking.
Often these areas are linked. A mental state can lead to the physical state or vice versa. If you are reading this newsletter, you already know about the mind/body connection. Nowhere is this relationship highlighted more than with auto-immune diseases and syndromes like SLE Lupus andFibromyalgia.
On a personal note, recently, a close friend was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I was eager to help, as massage is one of the best recommendations to ease common symptoms of this syndrome. I hope to briefly shed a bit more light on this complicated chronic syndrome here. I humbly ask that you bear with me, as it is the reason for such a long hiatus since the last issue – FM is both difficult to diagnose, and difficult to talk about for a lot of people.
Imagine chronic widespread pain, tender points, a dysfunctional pain threshold, constant fatigue and insomnia — those are a smattering of symptoms associated with Fibromyalgia (FM). If you’ve had even one of these you know they can severely effect everyday life. Experiencing even one of them 24/7 can chip away at anyone’s sanity. Both for the person feeling it, and those close to them.
The cause of FM is unknown, but recently, studies have linked central nervous system dysregulation. Some genetic factors have shown a predisposition to the syndrome. This, coupled with a traumatic event, illness, or injury often triggers FM symptoms. There is no cure, however, in some cases, anti-seizure medication, anti-depressants, and other pain-blocking drugs have been prescribed. As with any medication, the body can get used to the doses, and adjust the pain threshold (and hence a dangerous cycle can begin).
Massage is also indicated for the same reasons. Going back to issue #1, I talked about therapeutic touch reducing chronic pain by decreasing the production of cortisol, the “stress hormone” and increasing the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter related to the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. It can create a healthy cycle of less stress, leading to an increased feeling of well-being.
Here’s the mind-body connection in oversimplification: with more healthy, natural doses of neurotransmitters manufactured in the brain and floating around the nervous system the more likely the body can use them in a beneficial way.
Still unsure of what I’m getting at? Just ask the wonderful folks at the SLE Lupus Foundation, with whom I volunteer every year to massage SLE Lupus patients for their Living Healthly with Lupus event.
This issue’s Bodywork Therapy Spotlight
This issue’s spotlight is medical massage. Relatively recently, medical massage has been called out as a separate modality, delineating its outcome as treatment for a specific ailment. Interestingly enough, massage has been considered medical since the mid- 1800s. Consider this book, published in 1886 talking about massage as treatment. However, with the need for skilled practitioners with experience in chronic pain and treatment, massage, often times seen as a luxury, now has the need for this new moniker. Certification is not necessary for licensed massage therapists to practice medical massage, but because of the varying state by state licensure requirements, looking for someone who is certified in medical massage can be helpful in finding the right therapist for you.
Thank You For Reading!
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