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Massage and Chronic Fatigue

Massage and Chronic Fatigue

Massages used in traditional Chinese medicine or TCM are known for their therapeutic value, particularly for the treatment of common ailments and disorders.  One of the most common disorders with which TCM is used is chronic fatigue syndrome, an illness that manifests itself through a variety of symptoms, many of which are similar to other disorders and illnesses.  This is why Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is difficult to diagnose.  However, it can be treated and many patients have turned to traditional Chinese medicine and massage therapy for relief. 


Fatigue is an ailment that probably every person has experienced at one time or another.  Although common, it is not always a cause for concern since it often goes away after some rest and relaxation.  The problem is that fatigue can be a symptom of a disorder known as CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  People who suffer from CFS frequently complain of extended periods of extreme fatigue with seemingly no perceivable cause or reason. 


Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome include prolonged and unexplained feelings of tiredness, muscle and joint pain, headaches, sore throat, insomnia, painful lymph nodes, forgetfulness, and impaired mental functions.  Although the disorder is experienced by both sexes, it is more common among women aged 40 to 50.  Over one million people are estimated to have this disorder in the U.S. alone.  To this day, there is no known cure for it, although symptoms can be treated.

Massage is one of the most recommended types of alternative therapies to treat the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  It has proven beneficial and effective for some patients in minimizing anxiety and restlessness and in improving sleep quality.  Massage is also a good option for patients with CFS who are not well enough to exercise because physical manipulations of the skin and muscles help promote good circulation. 


Another common massage technique used for the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is deep tissue massage.  This technique targets the muscle tissues, which are located several layers below the skin surface.  Deep tissue massage utilizes increased pressure and slower movements in order to stimulate the capillaries found in the soft tissues.  It is also very effective in improving blood circulation.

Probably one of the most elusive aspects of massage therapy when used to treat chronic fatigue is its intangible effect on the overall feeling of well-being of the patient.  When used with the right techniques, massage can be very helpful as means to treat the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and improve the physical and mental state of the patient.  It can also be used to complement other treatments involving TCM, such as acupuncture and herbal remedies.

A word of caution, though: it is important for patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome to hire only the services of a licensed massage therapist to ensure safety and correctness in the use of massage techniques.  A therapist trained in Oriental medicine or traditional Chinese medicine will be able to offer a better alternative therapy than one who does not have sufficient training or knowledge.

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