Why You May Want to Consider Massage Therapy

Sherri Journeying Through

When you’ve been blessed with the companionship of the Little Monster, as we so familiarly and unaffectionately call Parkinson’s disease, you may get tense and tight at the mere mention of PD.

For some with Parkinson’s, perhaps you haven’t experienced much stiffness. Maybe no pain. Maybe lots. Whether you have or not, there is something you can do for yourself that will keep you a little looser, a little more mobile, a little happier. It’s a little treat you can give yourself.

A massage.

Massage therapy has been proven to improve a patient’s day-to-day activities, sleeping habits, walking, stress, and more. Rigidity, stiffness, fatigue, and other symptoms have also been proven to get relief from this treatment. If these symptoms aren’t addressed, depression, poor self-esteem, and isolation can set in or get worse.

One study showed that massage helped boost self-confidence, well-being, walking abilities, and performance of daily living activities in a group of seven patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. They were monitored while receiving eight one-hour, full-body massage therapy sessions over the course of eight weeks.

Urine samples of these patients also showed a significant decrease in the amount of stress hormones that were registered at the beginning of the study.

These positive results were again registered not only by the researchers, but also from assessments conducted with the participants of the study. This suggests that while massage leads to measurable biological and chemical improvements in patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, the patients themselves can actually feel this difference tangibly in their everyday lives.

With more than 500,000 people currently suffering from Parkinson’s disease and its symptoms in the U.S. — and 50,000 people contracting Parkinson’s annually — further exploration of massage therapy as a complementary way to treat the symptoms should be taken up by researchers — and by the patients themselves.

We’ve always known a back rub feels nice. A massage will not only help with rigidity, stiffness, and stress, but also it will leave you feeling better. Most neurologists or movement disorder specialists will advise you to add this as part of your treatment. So consult your doctor for a recommendation, make an appointment, grab your car keys, and tootle on down to the local massage therapist. Maybe you’ll have timed it well and be next. And don’t forget to check your healthcare insurance program. Many will cover this type of treatment to some degree because it is considered treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s Disease.

6 comments

  1. Thank you for demonstrating the peaceful, soul lifting and utterly blissful value of a full body massage. Yes, it does generally benefit all who can partake. But when writing so lightly, I think you should be mindful of those PwP, where the effects of the condition has reached the point where they can no longer safely drive. Where they can’t welcome in grandchildren because of exhaustion, where they are saddled with continence issues and need an indwelling catheter, and where the meds: fail in most instances throughout each day. Such levels of deterioration so badly affects the quality of life, and achievement prospects, perhaps in more PwP than you can possible imagine.

  2. Skip Shaputnic says:

    Thanks for the informative article on what I call deep tissue therapeutic massage, although there are differences between ‘deep tissue’ and ‘therapeutic.’ After only 2 massage sessions recently I agree with the benefits that you cite in studies, although I’d like to know about their specifics. They’re far more tangible than simply a positive “placebo effect.”
    Do you know if Medicare covers these types of massage as they are bonafide treatments for PD? If so do you know how one goes about submitting a Medicare claim? Many thanks.

    • Skip – Thanks for your comment. I have heard both – yes and no in regards to Medicare coverage. I keep meaning to look into it but haven’t. You might be able to look through their yearly booklet and find the answer. That’s what I plan to do (one of these days).

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