Therapeutic Massage for Parkinson’s Disease Patients
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease? While there are many treatments and therapies, massage can really help with the day-to-day physical frustrations.
Parkinson’s Disease is a neurodegenerative brain disorder that develops slowly in most people. Usually, the symptoms take years to develop and many people live for years with the disease. However, it can be quite difficult at times.
While the disease itself isn’t fatal, complications resulting from Parkinson’s Disease do cause quite a few deaths. There is currently no cure but drugs and different therapies, like massage, can help alleviate symptoms.
Related: Massage For Seniors: Healthy Aging Benefits
What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease has many symptoms, including:
- tremors and shaking
- loss of the ability to smell certain odors
- dizziness and fainting
- interference with sleep
- muscle soreness and joint stiffness
In addition to the physical symptoms, there are a whole host of emotional issues that can arise from having to deal with a long term illness. These can include:
Research supports massage therapy as a useful intervention for several of the symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease.
How Does Massage Therapy Help with Parkinson’s Disease?
No matter the cause, Massage Therapy can help with musculoskeletal pain and joint stiffness. Parkinson’s occurs most frequently in those over the age of 50, who may already be feeling the effects of aging. Massage can help with muscle spasms and rigidity.
Daily exercise is recommended for people with Parkinson’s Disease. Massage can help keep the body flexible and able to handle more activity.
As mentioned early, Parkinson’s can affect quality sleep. Massage therapy promotes healthy and deep sleep by relaxing the body and giving the mind a chance to rest as well. Massage can reduce the occurrence of restlessness and thrashing during sleep.
What type of massage is best for a Parkinson’s patient?
There are many different types of massage.
- Swedish Massage
- Deep Tissue Massage
- Thai Massage
- Shiatsu Massage
Please read A Short Primer on Different Types of Massage for more information.
I always work with an individual’s situation and recommend types of massage based on symptoms. I also take into account levels of pain and the amount of pressure a patient prefers.
How Often Should I Get a Massage?
This depends on many factors and will be evaluated on a case by case situation. We will take into account the severity of pain, stiffness, and movement limitations. Some people find that a regular, weekly massage is the most helpful in managing symptoms.
Related: How Often Should I Get a Massage?
Massage Should NOT Replace Medical Care
Massage therapy should be viewed as a complement to a patient’s ongoing medical care for Parkinson’s Disease–not a substitute for it. Parkinson’s is a debilitating disease and massage can certainly help by offering great relief from symptoms.
What to expect during a massage
As a certified massage therapist, I can help patients with the logistics of a massage, as well as provide the comforting benefits of massage. Patients will have the benefit of a table that can raise and lower to make getting on and off a lot easier. I can also help with removing shoes, putting them back on, and other dressing requirements if needed. I talk with all of my patients (and their caregivers if necessary) before a massage to ensure that the patient will receive the best level of care they need.
If you or someone you love has Parkinson’s Diseases and is suffering from the symptoms, please call today to schedule an appointment. Relief is on its way!
THANK YOU so very much for this overview. I am a cmt and RCST in No. California. I am preparing for a new client with recent diagnosis of Parkinsons.