Can Massage Help Chronic Fatigue?

{For several years, Bill hosted "Massage Moment", a radio spot nestled within Lionville Natural Pharmacy owner Ben Briggs' Saturday morning radio show, Health Focus on WCOJ. These 3-to-4-minute gems covered topics ranging from stress to common bio-mechanical injuries, to answering questions such as 'should I get massage before or after chiropractic?'

Listen to the audio: (originally aired 4/22/06)}


The other day I had a client call me on the phone and ask, "Can massage do anything to help Chronic Fatigue?"

I believe so ... and for several reasons:

First, understand that Chronic Fatigue is a syndrome, meaning there are probably several contributing factors. Poor diet, constant negative emotions like fear or anger, and lack of quality sleep - just to name a few - all add up and cause low energy levels, producing a general feeling of lethargy.

A lot of this is because the body is expending a tremendous amount of energy trying to maintain homeostasis in the face of all these stressors.

For instance, take the emotion we call 'FEAR'.

Fear can cause soft tissues like skeletal muscles and fascia to tighten up. They contract instinctively as a self-protection mechanism. And when they contract, they use up energy. Therefore, sustained contractions require a constant source of energy. Eventually, the body runs out of fuel, and 'voila!', chronic fatigue.

Massage can help you by manually releasing the tissues that are literally sucking the energy out of you. Through massage techniques like effleurage, petrissage and tapotement, muscles and fascia learn to relax, which means less drain on the body's energy reserves.

And since massage encourages the body to 'stand -down', it can play a significant role in improving the quality of your sleep. Often we go to bed so 'wound up' from the day's activities that when we want to turn off, we can't.

Our bodies fall into a pattern of constantly being geared up, and ready to go, to the point where we can't shut them off when the time comes! So, during times when your body needs the sleep most, it gets less and less. And even when you do finally fall asleep, it's not a restful one.

Well, no wonder!

You may be sleeping, but your body is still knotted up, maintaining tension. So, the alarm goes off, and you throw yourself into yet another day, ill-rested and stressed-out!

Again, massage can break this cycle by allowing the body to go to bed relaxed. Relaxed muscles make for better sleep, allowing the body to recharge by morning, meaning higher energy levels for the next day.

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic fatigue, call me. I will be more than happy to discuss the problem, and make a few recommendations.

Although massage isn't a 'cure-all', it can be an important and powerful method for breaking the chronic fatigue cycle.

{ For an appointment, please call 484.798.8029, or email: }