Massage Therapy

When you hear the word “massage,” what words come to mind: Relaxation, comfort, release? Generally, I think of these words, but in reality the words that actually ring true for me are concentration, naked, and weird.

However, I do feel good afterwards, so during my birthday week, I treated myself to a massage. The routine is always the same—lie on the table and try not to jump. Relax Relax Relax! I silently scream to myself as the masseuse works her magic. I’ve had a few massages; no one has ever had the moxie to mention my discomfort until recently.

She was about a third of the way finished when she stopped, looked at me and asked, “Do you have a difficult time relaxing?”

Ha! I wanted to laugh at her, more than that lady! I could even produce paperwork that says I’m a spaz! But instead I just smiled and said, “Yes.”

“I can tell.”

She went on to explain her opinion that receiving regular massages may help my body learn to relax. Although I don’t have full muscle control, the muscles I do control are probably working overtime to compensate for my spasticity. Massage may help those controllable muscles relax, reducing the overall tension that I experience in my body.

Her thoughts intrigued me, and although I have yet to schedule another massage, I went home and did some research on the Internet. There are many sites which tout the benefits of massage for people with CP. The most interesting thing that I came across though, was this YouTube video featuring Matt O’Meara, a young man with CP whose gait was impacted after receiving regular massages. There’s an added twist: The massages happened in -20 degrees Celsius weather! Perhaps there is hope for us Minnesotans! If nothing else, it’s an interesting video to watch if you have 6 minutes to spare.

Do you think massage therapy has an impact on CP? What has been your experience?