Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition characterized by generalized pain, joint rigidity, intense fatigue, sleep alterations, headache, spastic colon, craniomandibular dysfunction, anxiety and depression, brings many clients to massage and other types of touch therapy. New research shows myofascial release, a type of touch therapy that releases connective-tissue restrictions, can improve anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain and quality of life in fibromyalgia patients.

Researchers from the Department of Nursing and Physical Therapy, at the University of Almería in Almería, Spain, performed this randomized, controlled clinical trial, according to an abstract published on

Seventy-four fibromyalgia patients were randomly assigned to either the myofascial release, or experimental, group, or to a control group. Members of the control group received sham treatment with a disconnected magnotherapy device, the abstract noted. The intervention period was 20 weeks.

Measurements of pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression and quality of life were taken at baseline, after the last treatment session, and at one month and six months after treatment.

“Immediately after treatment and atone month, anxiety levels, quality of sleep, pain, and quality of life were improved in the experimental group over the placebo group.

At six months post-intervention, significant differences in the quality of sleep index remained.

“Benefits of massage-myofascial release therapy on pain, anxiety, quality of sleep, depression, and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia” was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2011;2011:561753. Epub 2010 Dec 28.)

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