Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is a widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder for which the cause is still unknown. Ongoing investigations continue as medical and manual therapy offices are flooded with increasing numbers of reported fibromyalgia cases but, like the oft-quoted analogy of the blind man and the elephant, we currently know more about the components of FMS than we know about the “beast” as a whole.
Massage in the Media
Two recent issues of Dr. Andrew Weil’s Self Healing favorably mention massage therapy and bodywork. The first addresses complementary approaches for weight loss. While Weil et al. emphasize that eating less and exercising more are still the primary factors in shedding pounds and keeping them off, there are several integrative therapies that can help reduce stress levels and control emotional healing. Weil addresses acupuncture, cognitive-behavioral therapy, guided imagery, hypnotherapy, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and, of course, bodywork.
Fibromyalgia management is controversial today in both traditional and complementary medicine circles. Researchers and health care practitioners are seeing mixed results from a variety of cutting-edge protocols. Following are the details of one success story involving a combination of methods, and a summary of the resources which helped make it happen.
One day after attending a geriatric workshop seminar, I visited a neighborhood boutique. While browsing, I overheard a customer tell the clerk she had fibromyalgia. Trying to explain the disorder to the clerk, the woman sighed and said doctors don’t know exactly what fibromyalgia is. Those who have it experience a general muscular aching, pain and stiffness, she explained. “I also have certain points that are so tender at times I can’t even get dressed,” said the woman. “With me, it began one day when I got the flu.