You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes widespread pain all over the body. Those who suffer from this condition often report widespread muscle stiffness, and suffer from exhaustion, tiredness, and insomnia. In some cases, they also have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It is an extensive musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder with the pain found in the fibrous tissues of the body, often characterised by multiple tender points.
There are more female sufferers than male (seven times as many according to the NHS), and there is currently no cure for it.
Fibromyalgia is not a new disease, having been first described by doctors in the early 19th century, who wrote about a condition called ‘muscular rheumatism’.
By the turn of the 20th century, it was being referred to as ‘fibrositis’. ‘-itis’ is a medical suffix meaning ‘inflammation’, and swelling was thought to be a cause of the pain.
It would be almost another 8 decades before advances in our understanding of the condition meant swelling was no longer believed to be the cause. In 1976 the name of the condition was changed to fibromyalgia.
The term itself is taken from Latin and Greek words:
- Fibra (Latin) means fibrous tissue and has to do with painful tendons and ligaments
- Myos (Greek) means muscles
- Algos (Greek) means pain
Western medicine cannot pinpoint the exact pathogenesis (origin and development) of fibromyalgia. Some of the causes are thought to be down to genetics, infections, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or even childbirth.
In recent studies its cause was thought to be linked to abnormal levels of certain chemicals in the brain.
Ayurveda and Fibromyalgia
In Ayurveda, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, but also known as ME) and Fibromyalgia are treated as sister illnesses.
Ayurveda recognised and described immune depletion and conditions of fatigues some 5000 years ago and classified the conditions as a Vata disorder.
Is your vata out of balance?
On a related aside, Vata dosha is the Ayurvedic mind-body type that is associated with air and space. If Vata is out of balance, symptoms include tiredness and fatigue, occasional constipation, insomnia and poor circulation, leading to cold hands and feet.
It is one of three Ayurvedic doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and I’ll be referring to these again on many an occasion in my posts 🙂
Here’s a crash course on what they stand for.
A recent client
One of my clients, a female in her early fifties, had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia by her doctor.
This client has a stressful job which involves shift work. She works hard, and used to run and cycle, even when her body just wanted to rest.
I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing this lady until after her diagnosis when she had read up on Ayurvedic massages.
The client told me about her symptoms which she had ignored for too long. They included constant neck, back and knee pain, stiff joints in the morning, and enduring exhaustion with flu-like symptoms.
Eventually the client had to be signed off work when she finally sought medical advice from her doctor.
The therapies she is currently having from Basement 55 Therapies, along with medication from her doctor and changes to her lifestyle and daily routine (such as yoga stretches in the morning) are helping her to cope with her diagnosis and she hopes to return to work soon.
This client benefits from Pinda Sweda and Shirodhara at Basement 55 Therapies.
Pinda Sweda is an herbal compress hot oil massage using therapeutic Ayurvedic herbal powders crushed in a pestle and mortar and tied into a bolus.
The Ayurvedic techniques used in this treatment, are known as pummelling. This massage helps to relax and loosen tight muscles, and helps to relieve the body’s aches and pain.
Stretching the muscles with the heat of the bolus, combined with the pummelling techniques, helps the whole body and mind to relax as endorphins are secreted from the brain and nervous system, activating the body’s opiate receptors.
This fabulous therapy is great for muscles and joint pain, frozen shoulder, neck pain, endometriosis, depression and much more.
Shirodhara is another great therapy. Warm oil is gently poured on to the forehead helping to switch off the chattering mind. Great for relaxation, insomnia, tension, chronic colds and Vata imbalance, this is an awesome treatment I cannot recommend highly enough.
There are more therapies to try for Fibromyalgia such as Marma Point Abhyanga or Flowing Abhyanga or the Ayurvedic Yoga Massage. Basement 55 Therapies are currently the only therapy centre to offer this treatment on the Wirral.
Intrigued? Contact me now to see for yourself.
Also by Janet Mantle
- Self care – you can’t pour from an empty cup
- Ayurvedic Yoga Massage
- Giving up smoking? Ayurvedic Massage can help
- Indian Head Massage – how it could help you, and My Journey
- Office/Work Based Indian Head Massage or Dien Chan Zone
- The River of Hope – My Ayurveda Massage Journey
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