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How Receiving Regular Massage Supports Chronic Health Condition Symptom Relief

It’s March, 2023. We’re living in a post-pandemic world. A massive number of people are
battling new and worsening symptoms of chronic health conditions such as insomnia and adrenal fatigue aka burnout. These symptoms have emerged in large part due to heightened levels of stress, overproduction of cortisol, and a resulting ever-engaged fight, flight, or freeze response. Thankfully, the manual therapy of massage and bodywork offers us an abundance of benefits to help manage the cortisol spikes and bring our bodies closer to balance. Bodywork has been used to support lifelong health for thousands of years in cultures everywhere. Its uses are vast and depthful. We will cover several ways that chronic health condition symptoms can be tempered with regular bodywork sessions.

First, let’s define these terms:

  1. Chronic Health Condition - a health condition that lasts for at least 3 months and possibly throughout a lifetime. Chronic health conditions may or may not be curable, but they can often be managed with appropriate medical care and lifestyle changes.
  2. “Regular” Bodywork - this will depend on several factors including the current diagnosis or symptom presentation, quality of life, goals and accessibility to the bodywork that works for you. As a general rule of thumb, it’s good to receive a full body massage once every four weeks. However, if you are dealing with a chronic health condition or flare up, you may want to experiment with more frequent sessions (up to twice/week) for as long as is sustainable and appropriate for your condition. Make sure to speak with your healthcare professionals before beginning a regular massage schedule.

Immune System - Chronic health conditions are often linked to a suppression of the Immune System. This can have many causes such as genetics, diet, lifestyle, and environment. Massage benefits the immune system by ensuring proper lymphatic fluid flow, increasing the production of leukocytes and the encouraging proper removal of waste and toxins from our bodies on a cellular level. Those who are afflicted with symptoms of Lymphedema, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Long COVID will benefit.

Inflammation Response - It’s been said that the root cause of all disease is inflammation. What is inflammation? Why is it bad? Well, it’s not inherently. Inflammation is a natural and healthy reaction that our bodies create due to stress or injury. This is a healthy response in the short-term (like having a fever for a few days) or when localized (like when a rolled ankle swells to protect itself). But with chronic health conditions, the inflammation has outstayed its welcome and has become a systemic issue. Massage is famous for its pain-reduction and
anti-inflammatory effects when utilized regularly. Those who have struggles to manage arthritis and migraines, for example, will experience relief from regular bodywork.

Blood, Lymph, and Qi circulation - Because massage ensures increased flow of our bodies’ fluids and energies, it also ensures that proper nutrients are delivered through our tissues. When our tissues function properly, our organs and organ systems are set up for success. Those managing COPD, Diabetes, and Kidney Disease are all good candidates for regular bodywork treatment.

Nervous System - When the body is in fight, flight, or freeze response as is often the case with chronic health conditions, we begin to see symptoms like fatigue, restless sleep, and mood disorders. Massage restores Nervous System health by engaging the Vagus nerve which activates the rest and digest response, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system. Being in this state of calm is critical to managing symptoms of Anxiety and Depression, two chronic health conditions that will deeply benefit from regular time receiving mindful bodywork.

Digestive System - When chronic inflammation is present, gut dysfunction such as decreased nutrient absorption and improper toxin elimination may be present. Here, we see conditions such as IBS and Crohn's Disease. Because our gut-brain connection is so strong, what affects one, affects the other. Regular bodywork is known to regulate neurotransmitter health by increasing the release of dopamine and serotonin while lowering the output of cortisol and norepinephrine when appropriate. Regular massage will benefit anyone looking to enhance their gut health.

When you’re managing a chronic health condition, it will likely take a variety of techniques, modalities, therapies, and a team of support and health personnel to discover the ever-changing personal blend of symptom-management regimen that works best for you. Be encouraged by knowing that massage and bodywork are two of the many effective natural solutions offered by Alternative Medicine.

702 Bodywork delights in bringing pain and stress relief to your chronic and acute health needs. Contact us here to connect or Submit an appointment request next time you’re in Las Vegas.

Aubrey Oiler

Licensed Massage Therapist and Integrative Nutrition Student Practitioner
Upon her quest to a quiet mind, she discovered that bodywork was so much more healing than she could have imagined. Today her personal practices of meditation, breathwork, qigong, yoga, and dance all meld together to inform her bodywork sessions. She works from the perspective that we are all bio-individuals with unique needs, fears, desires, traumas and modes of healing.
At 702 Bodywork, we are in the business of relaxation by helping clients reduce their stress and pain.
We merge the art and science of massage therapy to create a holistic approach to the physical, emotional and spiritual through a safe and supportive experience for our clients in Las Vegas.
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