by Sabrina Martini
Massage is the use of pressure on targeted body structures such as muscles, tendons, and nerves to relieve tension, increase blood flow and stimulate healing. When you see a massage therapist for neuropathy their goal is to make you feel more comfortable and reduce pain in order to help you experience better quality of life.
What benefits will you get from massage therapy?
In order to obtain the maximum benefits from your massage sessions it is important that you and your massage therapist converse before each session in order to determine what benefits you hope to obtain from the session. Your massage therapist will be able to offer treatments for pain relief, easing of tension, reduction of stiff muscles, etc. The massage itself will provide increased circulation in areas being treated which promotes healing in those areas. Additionally, a sense of relaxation and stress reduction are generally obtained from sessions which contribute to overall health and wellness. It is very important for you to adhere to follow up instructions provided by your therapist to obtain the most benefits. This can be things such as increasing water consumption after the massage, stretching muscles that were tight, using heat pads, etc.
Types of massages to consider:
Aromatherapy: includes a variety of essential oils derived from plants, flowers, herbs and roots each having their own beneficial therapeutic qualities. Aromatherapy massage therapists blend oils to treat specific conditions providing the best treatment with the massage.
Connective Tissue Massage: works with the body’s fascia (soft tissues) to relieve pain, tightness and discomfort which are restricted in certain areas of the body. The massage therapist ‘hooks’ their fingers into connective tissues to pull and stroke the length of the tissues reducing tightness. This practice yields pain reduction, tension relief, stress reduction and improved mobility.
Deep-Tissue: utilizes slow stroked and direct pressure across the grain of the muscles and connective tissues to release chronic aches and pains. This technique is useful for chronic pain, inflammation, and injury.
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT): rhythmic strokes are used to increase flushing and draining of toxins via the lymphatic circulatory system. This is beneficial because the drainage and reactivation of proper circulation increases healing and reduces inflammation, and edemas caused by neuropathies. You can perform lymph drainage massage on yourself at home. There is a wide variety of information on the internet but common practice consists of standing in a relaxed position with arms parallel to the floor at which point you begin rotating your arms in small circles and then larger circles ten times each. This can be repeated 3 times for maximum benefit.
Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT): applies to specific muscles generally for an increase of blood flow and to release muscle tension, pain and pressure on nerves. Neuromuscular therapists have advanced training on the nervous system and impacts to the muscles. It can be difficult to find a massage therapist with this advanced training so ask around. If you are looking for a neuromuscular massage therapist direct your search to physical therapy or chiropractor offices rather than at spas.
What should you look for in a massage therapist?
+ Look for a massage therapist who is trained and qualified to be practicing.
+ Speak with your massage therapist or perhaps have a consultation prior to booking to outline your symptoms.
+ Find a therapist with clinical knowledge; preferably who has experience working with peripheral neuropathy patients.
+ Your therapist should have a collaborative attitude, be safety conscious, and compassionate.
**Despite benefits associated with massage therapy for treatment of your peripheral neuropathy, remember to speak with your doctor prior to starting any treatments.
Benefits of Massage For Neurotherapy and Pain Management. (n.d.). Retrieved June 19, 2017, from https://www.foundationforpn.org/living-well/integrative-therapies/massage/
Sabrina Martini is a student entering the 4th year of her Bachelors of Science, majoring in Neuroscience at the University of Lethbridge.