Healing Hands: Massage Therapy & Crohn's

My last post kicked off a series on the extraintestinal symptoms of Crohn's/IBD, including joint pain, eye problems, and hair loss, among myriad other issues.  We could talk about related problems all day, but I'd like to instead spend some time on possible solutions for pain management.  Massage is my hands-down favorite (pun intended!)

Not only do I have constant joint pain, but I also carry a lot of tension in my neck and back.  If I go more than a few months without a massage I am a knotted mess!  Getting regular massages also helps me manage the stress and pain of living with a chronic health condition.  Granted, it can be expensive, but I consider it an investment in my health. Think about how much some Crohn's medications cost, and consider regular massage an preventative medicine!




Why Massage for Crohn's?

General Swedish massage is great for relaxation / stress management through its lighter full-body massage.  It helps reduce inflammation, stimulates cell repair, and release toxins in the body, which you then flush out by being sure to hydrate well after your massage.  Especially us Crohnies who tend to be more dehydrated to begin with - drink up!

There are lots of other kinds - reflexology, aromatherapy, and deep tissue can help if like me you carry a lot of tension in certain areas.  Trigger point can also be helpful.  I will warn you that deep tissue walks a fine line between pleasure and pain.  I recommend having the therapist focus on some problem areas and then do Swedish for the remainder of your massage.  Therapists are typically very willing to accommodate your interests and tailor a massage to your health needs. 


If you're hesitant, trust me, I once felt the same!


I distinctly remember my first massage over 15 years ago.  My boyfriend at the time insisted we get one on vacation.  To me back then, it seemed frivolous and invasive.  Let's just say 60 minutes with an amazing masseuse in Charleston, SC, turned me into a new woman!  I haven't looked back since.  Even through years of graduate school and scrimping by I would try to go at least once or twice a year as my big splurge.

Check out these guidelines on what to expect during a massage, and I guarantee it will ease any concerns!


Ok, I'm in, but how do I find a massage therapist?

Don't go the Groupon route.  Trust me.  It's tempting, but you will likely end up on a long wait list to even get a massage scheduled, and then perhaps not get the best therapist or practice.  I did a Groupon once and the therapist complained about her schedule the entire time.  Not relaxing!

Check out reviews on sites like Yelp or Google reviews.  Ask friends and coworkers.  Find out if your hair salon has a masseuse on staff.  Sign up for e-newsletters at some places in your area and try them out when they are running a special. Check out listings on the American Massage Therapy Association.

My favorite tip is try to find an area massage school.  I live near a Miller Motte technical college, which has a spa and esthetics clinic.  For $30 you get an hour-long student massage.  I've been going off and on for ten years or more, and while you occasionally have a student who doesn't do a great job, often times the massage is quite comparable!  You are not legally allowed to tip students, so $30 is quite a bargain!  Schools typically will allow you to book with licensed therapists as well, which are much cheaper than what you would pay at a spa.

Pay it Forward!


Massage gift certificates make wonderful gifts!  I once took a friend who had just returned from the Peace Corps.  Whether frazzled parents or a fellow Crohnie, try the healing power of massage!

Crohnies unite!

Comments

  1. This is also a very good post which I really enjoyed reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this..

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