Massage and ME

With the aches and pains and muscle problems of ME you would think that massage would be the ideal therapy to help.

Every single thing our body is capable of doing uses energy. Whether it is sleeping, resting, reading, doing a series of simple stretches – it all takes energy and with ME people when energy is used there will be payback.

Massage no matter how gentle, is stimulating. It increases blood flow to the whole body. It releases toxins from the muscles and lymph. These two aspects have a knock on effect throughout the body causing a feeling of well-being, relaxation, release from stress, a release from the pain of tight muscles, an increase in flexibility, increase in the mobility of stiff limbs; because blood flow is brought to the surface of the skin and tissues during massage this helps with the healing process where there has been injury (specialised massage). A specialised massage can also help in reducing fluid where there is retention of fluid. Massage doesn’t just help on the physical level but also on the mental level.

Therefore it follows that massage expends energy on the part of the receiver and with that expenditure, payback will result whether the individual has ME or any condition or is in perfect health.

To reduce the effects of payback for the individual, water needs to be drunk after a massage and rest taken.
One should always rest for at least 20 minutes to an hour after a massage. For ME or all conditions, then the rest may be for hours, even days. The amount of water should be at least a pint but it doesn’t have to drunk in one go, it is better if it is taken over about 20 minutes.

There are many types of massage, I am qualified in three: Therapuetic massage, Remedial massage and Aromatherapy.

One of my patients had ME and came for a regular massage. He knew he would feel terrible aftewards but he was involved in a sport and always had a massage two or three days before his activity. The aim was to release the toxins, increase the circulation and to feel energised for the sport.

A remedial massage therapist I know of has been treating ME patients with a specialised form of massage to the lymph glands. He says he is successful but what couldn’t be ascertained was how many of his patients simply didn’t return to his practice because they were disilusioned with the treatment.

Those with ME and low blood pressure may be contraindicated. By its very nature ME makes one feel weak and with low blood pressure one will feel weaker still and with lying down receiving a massage one may feel extremely weak and dizzy after a massage. Although massage increases circulation, it will not increase the pressure of the blood in the arteries; infact massage can help to reduce blood pressure because of its de-stressing effect; so the increase of circulation, the lack of pressure, the lack of energy may all result in a very strange sensation that the ME person may find difficult to cope with.

I remain sceptical to whether massage can ‘cure’ ME. I do believe it relieves many of the symptoms but there is a cost. The cost is payback and the level of payback depends on the severity of the ME or health condition.

If an ME person is bed-bound then massage as far as I am concerned is out of the question. If the ME person is walking and able to undertake activities of about an hour, for example: do the weekly shop, then massage is beneficial as long as the patient has set aside time to rest for as many hours/days as they need afterwards. It takes me two days to get over a massage but I do feel better after that.

I conduct my massage treatments differently for ME people or those suffering from exhaustion or any condition. The massage and its movements need to be tempered to the individual and their condition and this makes a thorough consultation strictly and absolutely vital.

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