Is massage therapy good for people who have hypermobile joints? Here’s a question I received and my response.
I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type.
Have you worked with this disorder before? If so, is there any type of massage that I should avoid?
I know I don’t like the deep tissue massage, and any type of rolfing. I have had a reaction to too much of the heated sonar prior to massage which makes me feel like I had a sunburn.
Prime Olympic athletes receive a type of sports massage which neither loosens nor tones their muscles. It just allows them to remain in their peak condition while still having the benefits of massage.
I wonder the reason why you don’t like deep tissue massage? Rolfing is supposed to correct muscle imbalances and for that reason is a deeper form of structural muscle massage.
It is possible to experience much tenderness during sessions of deep massage. This is because some of your muscles are tight or contracted. Tight muscles can be extremely tender to pressure. However, there is a feeling afterward of relief and relaxation.
But if the therapist treats the area that is not the problem–but is only the symptom–that can be pretty aggravating. It doesn’t allow release of the problem area and actually causes muscle imbalance.
On the other hand, your body may be saying that this type of massage is not needed or wanted.
Now that I think of it, I did have a hypermobile female client who could not tolerate deeper massage either. She directed the massage and kept the sessions brief, only 1/2 hour.
You may wish to try a warming/friction type of massage. Some therapists have learned how to lift and “saw” the soft tissues to warm them. (This is not the same as deep frictioning of tendons or ligaments.) I learned this technique from a Russian physiotherapist named Zhenya Kurashova-Wine some years ago.
I think it would be very important for your therapist to treat the muscles on the front side of your body as well as the back side. Some tend to treat only the back and that would not be of most benefit for you–it doesn’t promote muscular balance.
Since massage properly applied warms the tissues I don’t know that you would need any heated mechanical treatment.
It’s always challenging to give long-distance advice. I’m not a doctor or physical therapist. I can’t see the person or feel them. I’m working with very limited information about their situation. But I give it my best and love doing it. Here’s why:
You deserve to feel better and the more you know about your condition or problem–whatever it is–the better your chances of healing naturally.
Therapeutic massage is a wonderful tool for healing and healthy living but not all massage is the same. It’s your body and so you may direct the therapist. If something feels inappropriate or wrong to you, do not allow it. Listen to your body wisdom. Your therapist wants to help you feel better but you are always the person in charge of your massage.