By On August 7th, 2014

Can Massage Help Manage Symptoms of TBI?

Massage therapy has long been used to ease pain, provide comfort and address cognitive and neurological issues. Currently, there are many massage therapists who focus their practice solely on headaches, sports related concussions and other TBI related issues.

In addition to possible complications with a TBI, the practitioner has other concerns outside of simply following the typical known contraindications and precautions associated with pediatric massage therapy. Children are still developing and have not reached their full cognition levels. This can make communication challenging, until you learn how best to communicate with the individual patient. As always, the mobile massage therapist should seek guidance from the parents and healthcare team on how to best to seek permission and proceed with safe communication.

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MassageIn my time researching and writing about traumatic brain injuries, I’ve heard quite a few far-fetched and barely researched “cures,” “treatments,” and “therapies,” most of which I ignore entirely out of skepticism. For example, after continuous research supporting the need for rest after TBI, I find it hard to believe that “quick return to activity” is the secret to healing we have been missing out on all this time.

I’m similarly less-nclined to believe that massage may be a reliable and effective treatment for many of the symptoms relating to traumatic brain injury. But that doesn’t stop Massage Today, a magazine for the therapeutic massage industry, from sharing the benefits of massage and their own tips forĀ “Using Massage to Ease Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms.”

I will wait until I see academic research on the idea before I endorse it. Nonetheless, I find these potential treatments, therapies, or simple coping devices intriguing.

6 Responses

  1. I’m a massage therapist conducting case studies right now to look at if/how massage therapy can improve quality of life for people with traumatic brain injuries.

    • Dewaine says:

      I would love to connect with you. I am a massage therapist and have a friend who recently had a TBI. She has major spasticity and tons of numbness in extremities. Also hot and cold flashes. We have been to the ER 2x without a proper diognosis, we will be going to get a CT scan tomorrow (3 weeks post accident, symptoms have flared). What can I do as a therapist? I am in Berkeley, CA.

  2. Carol Camper says:

    I am a massage therapist in Illinois currently massaging two ladies in their late 20s and early 30s. Both ladies are in a long term care facility. They both have similar issues, motorcycle accident left them with brain trauma and part of brain removed. They both have no speech and very little body movement. I really want to help them. Please contact me.

  3. Tyesha says:

    I think it is interesting how persons have never tried a therapy treatment for an injury or condition to give an opinion. Maybe one day when you have a dull headache or feel slightly confused try the therapy. Most therapy only works when there is symptoms of a health condition.

  4. James Snapp says:

    As a Massage Therapist with 20 years experience in bodywork, and much experience working with a variety of cases of TBI, Cerebral Palsy, Developmental Delay and other neurological diagnoses, I can say that therapeutic massage can help TBI. I will say that not just any massage is super valuable, and a focus on sensory input, as opposed to just stretching or rubbing a tight spastic muscle is a key to positive changes.One must always be very careful working with TBI understanding that their CNS is sensitive in many ways, and often in a sympathetic state. Combining modalities is very important, and creating the right kind of environment is key. Ed Snapp PT found that using movements and patterns from prenatal life can trigger positive changes, allowing many people with TBI to have greater success with his technique CCDT or Chronologically Controlled Developmental Therapy, You can click on the website below to learn more bout this technique. Ed Snapp PT died in 2006, but we still practice his amazing therapy protocols at our clinic, Snapp Therapeutics, in Mesa, AZ. I am happy to discuss our techniques with anyone interested, and would love someone to do a case study on a few clients and publish the findings. Thanks for the post…. Sincerely, James Snapp LMT

  5. I had meningitis 10 years ago and since have had some concentration issues and scattered thinking. My neck is also always in knots. I started using a shiatsu pillow and do guided meditation for sleep. I’m wondering if continued use can alleviate the fog symptoms.

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