Benefits for Specific Conditions
Allergies: The American Academy of Allergy, Asthmas and Immunology reports that allergies affect more than 50 million Americans, making them the country’s fifth most chronic disease. Massage therapy can relieve symptoms of allergies by reducing stress, increasing circulation, and reducing muscle tension. There are many sinus trigger points located in the upper back and shoulders which allow a trained massage therapist to optimize allergy treatment results. Lymphatic massage is also shown to reduce inflammation and remove toxins in the body that in turn support the immune system. CranioSacral Therapy can also be useful in allergy relief by aiding the immune system through endocrine glands and increases in overall fluid exchange.
ADHD: Case studies have shown that massage therapy in children and adolescents with ADHD is extremely effective in controlling excess energy. Research has shown that individuals diagnosed with ADHD who received massage therapy were happier, more productive in a classroom setting, and teachers rated them less hyperactive. The particular massage techniques which have been discussed to be effective for ADHD are traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) including acupuncture, tai chi, and tuina massage.
Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) can affect individuals in varying ways but is most often associated with widespread pain and muscle stiffness. People with FMS can also experience chronic headaches, allergies, fatigue, hypoglycemia, weariness, decreased endurance or exhaustion. Massage therapy can be effective in managing these conditions and treating FMS. In a study from the European Journal of Pain, massage therapy in FMS individuals was shown to reduce depression and use of pain medication and improve quality of life, resulting in a 37% reduction of pain in study participants. Regular massage therapy and consistency in the treatment is recommended to manage symptoms associated with fibromyalgia.
Autism Spectrum Disorders: Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that its symptoms can range from mild to acute and vary among individuals. Autism can be associated with sensory integration issues which make senses heightened and overpowering in the individual. Massage therapy can help to alleviate the symptoms of autism by stimulating the vagus nerve, thus increasing vagal activity, which is often affected in those with autism spectrum disorders. Massage can reduce the heart rate allowing for better focus and help children with autism sleep better. Stimulation of the vagus nerve may also help to reduce background noise from heightened senses, increasing the ability to listen and speak. CranioSacral Therapy is a specific technique which has been shown to aid symptoms of autism spectrum disorders.
Cerebral Palsy (CP): Massage therapy has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of children with CP. Massage can have a significant positive effect on spasticity, range of motion, fine and gross motor function, cognitive behavior, better sleep, and posture improvements in these individuals. Research has also shown that children with CP enjoyed the relaxing effects of massage therapy, along with improvements in overall health stemming from muscle relaxation, increased mobility, and reduced pain¹. Massage bodywork for individuals with CP is recommended to indirectly affect muscle tone through CranioSacral Therapy work.