Using Sports Massage Therapy as a Complementary Therapy: Parkinsons Disease

As you will know or have read by now, Sports Massage Therapy is not only beneficial to a sportsperson. It can have a positive effect on a vast number of people and for many, make a huge difference to their everyday lives.

Parkinson’s Disease is a nervous system condition, involving the progressive degeneration of nerve tissue and a reduction in neurotransmitter production in the central nervous system. As a movement disorder, most symptoms often associated with Parkinson’s affect movement and are often called motor symptoms. It is a very individual condition with each person presenting and experiencing different symptoms. Not everyone will experience the same, and the way in which they appear and progress also varies from person to person. The main symptoms are rigidity (general stiffness), tremors and slowed movement. Other physical symptoms include poor balance, restless leg syndrome, pain, sleeping problems, speech and communication problems, a shuffling gait, bladder and bowel problems, and eye problems. Other symptoms that aren’t related to movement can be referred to as non motor symptoms and include depression, dementia, hallucinations and anxiety.

Massage is proven to help PD sufferers, and is often a recommended complementary therapy to help manage the symptoms. With little side effects, massage can help with anxiety and depression due to its relaxation qualities, muscle rigidity and general health of the muscles of the body, through its increased circulatory properties, and can also have a positive effect on sleep quality. PD sufferers are likely to find it difficult to hop on and off the couch and so may need assistance, which is always offered. As PD often affects the elderly, it is important to be aware of any other disorders the client may have.

Shorter, more frequent treatments would be advisable and more beneficial as the positive effects of massage on the muscles will decrease with time in between sessions. Hopefully this will help in controlling symptoms and pain, therefore improving a clients mobility and effecting motor symptoms.

In most cases, clients with PD will have been recommended to massage by another practitioner or therapist, and will have been advised and educated on other treatment or therapy options. If not, I would be more than willing to discuss options and increase awareness, and possibly refer a client if appropriate. These include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, and physiotherapy, as well as other complementary therapies to help induce relaxation such as acupuncture, aromatherapy and yoga.

If you think Sports Massage Therapy could help and benefit you, please contact me.

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