Massage Helps Fibromyalgia Patients with Quality of Life

Researched Findings on Massage and Fibromyalgia

Pain, extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression are common symptoms of fibromyalgia (FMS), a debilitating and confusing disease.  New medications and diagnostic methods are being developed, and the current best hypothesis about the origin of the pain is that it is due to musculosketal changes or myofascial trigger points.  It is this pain that a recent study hoped to decrease by examining the effects of massage-myofascial release therapy on patients with fibromyalgia.  Myo-fascial release massage uses sustained pressure to stretch and remove restrictions in the soft connective tissue, thereby increasing range of motion and decreasing pain.

The study examined seventy-four patients with FMS, divided into two groups – one that received treatment and the other a placebo/sham procedure.   The treatment group was given myo-fascial release therapy for 90 minutes each week for 20 weeks.   The scientists measured pain, depression, anxiety levels and quality of sleep at the beginning, at the end of the 20 weeks, and 1 month and 6 months afterward.  Similar procedures were used for the control group who were unaware they were receiving a sham treatment.

Immediately after treatment and at 1 month post, the myo-fascial therapy group had better results in anxiety levels, pain, quality of sleep, and quality of life.  By 6 months, the two groups were about the same, except for quality of sleep that was still better in the group that received the massage therapy.

For patients who suffer from FMS, this is a promising massage therapy procedure that is complimentary to traditional FMS treatment options and can result in measurable decreases in pain levels and quality of life.

by Sara Gonzalez

Castro-Sánchez, A. M., Matarán-Peñarrocha, G. a, Granero-Molina, J., Aguilera-Manrique, G., Quesada-Rubio, J. M., & Moreno-Lorenzo, C. (2011). Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine?: eCAM, 2011, 561753. doi:10.1155/2011/561753