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Massage Therapy And Parkinson’s Symptoms

The benefits of massage are becoming increasingly apparent for many people with Parkinson’s disease. Previously found only in exotic spas and top tier health clubs, massage is now available in many different settings, including physiotherapy clinics and even your local clinics.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system (CNS) disorder that inhibits the production or transmission of dopamine. It affects your voluntary motor skills, causing muscle stiffness and rigidity, as well as fatigue and poor balance.

Unfortunately, Parkinson’s disease has no cure. It can be severely debilitating if you don’t manage it properly, leading to isolation, depression, and low self-esteem. Patients often go through much experimentation with their medications and treatment plan to find some form of relief for the pain and other symptoms.

Massage therapy has been shown to help relieve fatigue, pain, immobility, and depression, to many different ailments, including Parkinson’s.

Effectiveness of Massage Therapy for Parkinson’s

In a 2002 study involving adults with Parkinson’s disease, those participants who received massage therapy twice a week over a period of five weeks showed greater improvement in their ability to perform various daily activities and in their sleep patterns, compared to those who attended muscle relaxation classes.

The urine samples for the massage therapy patients also showed considerably lower amounts of stress hormones than registered at the start of the study.

A different study in 2005 showed that weekly, one-hour, full body massage sessions for a period of eight weeks helped to boost the performance of daily living activities, the well-being, self-confidence, and walking abilities of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.

The positive results from these studies were not only observed by the researchers, but also experienced by the participants. This implies that massage therapy leads to both measurable chemical and biological improvements on the condition of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease, and actual feelings of well-being and improved quality of life.

Typical benefits include:

  • Reduction in tremor and rigidity
  • Increase in daily stamina
  • Increased feeling of relaxation
  • Reduction in anxiety
  • Improvement in sleep

Is Massage Therapy Right For You?

Massage therapy has been known to help relieve the various symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, so it can be included in the treatment plan for the disease. Massage can help reduce the reliance on pain medications and antidepressants. So it is important that you inform your primary physician before starting your sessions to ensure that your medications and dosage are adjusted accordingly.

Alternatively, your physician can recommend a physiotherapy clinic that has experience helping people with Parkinson’s. That said, most techniques involve the repetitive application of gentle pressure to help relax muscle tremors, so any massage session should be beneficial.

Please consult your physician for more information on the effect of Parkinson’s disease.


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