Tuesday, February 10, 2009

To massage or not to massage?

So, here I am applying Icy-Hot to my excruciatingly painful shoulder muscles, with a heating pad under my calves, trying to write my blog. Why, you wonder? Was I in a accident? Did I fall? Try to overdo things? Well, no...not exactly. Let me tell you the story from the beginning...

The other day my body aches were especially bad (who knows why - just one of those CFS things I guess). I had tried stretching and soaking in a hot bath, but the aches just kept getting worse.

My loving, caring husband couldn't bear to see me in such pain and offered to give me a hot oil massage. Well, there was no way I was turning that offer down.

As soon as we began, I could feel that certain parts of my body were extremely tender - I screamed with pain even when he applied minimal pressure.

"Don't worry," Hubby Dear assured me, "I know exactly what I'm doing." Trustingly, I settled back down only to feel an explosion of pain in the aforementioned tender muscles as he really laid into them.

Once I had established that, against all evidence, Hubby was not trying to murder me (anything that doesn't kill you just makes you stronger!), I tried to understand his explanation. "The more it hurts, the more you need to press down. That's the only way it's going to get better." he assured me earnestly.

Well, I had heard that according to Eastern medicine, tender spots are indicative of an an energy block in the body. In acupressure & acupuncture pressure/needles are placed on these spots to release the blockages and allow the chi (vital energy/life force) to flow uninterrupted through the body. By restoring balance and flow of energy, the body can be healed.

Looking at the glow of sincerity and compassion emanating from Hubby Dear, I couldn't doubt his intentions any further. "No pain, no gain," I muttered, giving myself up to his (not-so) tender ministrations.

To cut a long story short, it has now been two days since that fateful day - two days of intense pain, dire threats from Yours Truly & abject apologies from Hubby - and, while I am still recovering from my "relaxing " hot oil massage, I am finally able to get back to my blog.

MOTTO OF THE STORY: Massage is probably good for you, but it's not supposed to hurt. If it increases your pain instead of helping, STOP!

Click here to learn more about the benefits of massage.


  1. It may be good for other people, but with CFIDS/FM - and all the tender points that you have - it's not good for us. These are the words of wisdom that I can share because I have had similar experiences - 3 months of with a PT who kept talking about therapeutic massage, while I spent our 45 minutes together twice a month, quietly sobbing into a towel. (And the entire rest of the month recuperating from his ministrations). It took me 3 months, though, to say: "Even though you think this is helping, it is making me worse, so STOP!" so, good for you for getting it on the first go-round.

  2. Me, too! My Mom gave me a gift certificate for a massage in my early years of CFS, when I was very sick. I went into a severe crash afterwards. Pain has never been a big issue for me and I don't have FM, so it wasn't tender points in my case. I've read various explanations over the years - that massage releases toxins that those of us with CFS can't clear easily, etc. I don't know why it happens; I just know I've never gone for another one! I used the rest of my gift certificate for a shorter foot massage, which was relaxing and didn't have the negative effects.

    So, that's my experience.


  3. Well, I had a very gentle hot stone massage once and that actually made me feel much better. so maybe the massage thing can work for us as long as they focus on using heat (rather than pressure) to relax the muscles.

  4. That’s great to hear! Please let us know what you think of it. I am greatly enjoying it, myself.

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