Massage therapy can help alleviate widespread musculoskeletal pain that can often be debilitating for clients suffering from fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that can affect nearly anyone’s physical, mental and social dispositions. The condition also can be accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

By learning the benefits and techniques of massage on clients with fibromyalgia in the privacy of your home or office through home study courses, massage therapists can easily implement these tools into their practice.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia often begin in clients after physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant stress. But in other instances, the condition develops with no associated trigger. By treating the condition with massage therapy, therapists can help their clients have improved sleep, less neck pain, better balance, a decrease in the body’s sensitivity to pain, along with an increase in mobility and flexibility. Continued massage treatments also can enhance a client’s immunologic and neuroendocrine function.

An Internet search revealed numerous home study courses that are available for any massage therapist to take to fulfill his or her continuing education requirements. For massage for fibromyalgia, some of the courses offered cover such topics as signs, symptoms and causes of fibromyalgia, conventional treatments, natural therapies, pain management concepts, diagnosis, treatment, massage techniques, health paradigms, using the lymphatic system anc client health education. In some courses, materials also cover coexisting conditions, topical balms, salves, along with stretches and exercises.

A recent study compared the affects of connective tissue massage and manual lymph drainage therapy on women suffering from primary fibromyalgia. The study, “Comparison of Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy and Connective Tissue Massage in Women with Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” monitored 50 women with primary fibromyalgia. Of those women, half were randomly assigned to receive manual lymph drainage therapy, while the other 25 were assigned to receive connective tissue massage.

The subjects of the study in both groups received hands-on sessions five days a week for three weeks. The results of the study showed that both groups showed “significant and progressive” improvements after receiving the treatments. However, the women in the manual lymph drainage therapy group showed more significant improvement in a category that measured the impact of fibromyalgia in their daily life.

Make sureto check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.

–Jeremy Maready

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