19th September 2022
Massage for Neuropathy: Can It Help and How To Do OneDr. Devan Patel, PharmD
Getting a regular massage might sound like a luxury for some. Images of white bathrobes and tranquil spa settings may come to mind. A massage is indeed a luxury but for those who suffer from neuropathy, it may also be a necessity for pain relief.
Below, we will outline some of the benefits of massage therapy for neuropathy, including different massage methods, and how you can do your won at home.
The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Neuropathy
Massage therapy is meant to do more than help you relax. The act of applying gentle pressure to aching muscles and joints helps your body in numerous ways. Some of the benefits of massage therapy include:
Reduced muscle soreness
Eases anxiety and depression
Increased immunity from stimulation of the lymph flow
Promotes endorphin release (your body’s natural pain killers)
Can help improve arthritis pain
Improved paresthesia and nerve pain
Massage therapy may benefit neuropathy patients by helping to improve circulation. Neuropathy can be a result of decreased circulation and blood flow. Decreased circulation and blood flow can damage nerve cells by inhibiting enough nutrients and oxygen to get to them. By increasing blood flow and circulation, your nerve cells can get more oxygen and nutrients and function more properly.
A 2018-2019 research study studied the effects of foot massages 3-nights a week on neuropathic subjects. After each 20-minute massage session, subjects reported reduced pain and improved sleep quality. The results are not surprising as, well, massage feels good. Especially if you suffer from chronic pain from neuropathy symptoms.
Different Methods for Massage for Neuropathy
There are many different methods for utilizing massage therapy for neuropathy. Massage can be described as using your hands to apply pressure, knead, stroke, stretch, or compress the flesh and muscles. Massage tools may also be used in place of your hands.
The purpose of massage is to relax, ease pain, and promote blood flow to sore muscles. It can also promote lymphatic drainage which can be beneficial for your immune system. Below are different massage therapy techniques for providing these benefits.
Swedish massage is one of the most common forms of massage therapy. It involves using five basic strokes to provide pain relief to the connective tissues and muscles. Swedish massage aims to help promote relaxation, improve circulation, and pain relief.
Deep Tissue Massage
A deep tissue massage gets deep into the muscles. It’s meant to release tension underneath the muscles and into the fascia. Deep tissue massages use slow, deep strokes, pressure, or friction across the grain of the muscles.
A trained massage therapist can use their hands, fingers, and even elbows to get deep into sore muscles and relieve chronic aches and pains. It’s important that you get a deep tissue massage only from a trained professional as it can lead to injury if performed incorrectly.
Lymph Drainage Massage
When fluid builds up in your lymph nodes, health problems can occur such as inflammation and neuropathies. Your lymph nodes are responsible for helping flush out toxins from your body. Poor circulation can make it harder for your lymph nodes to work properly and lead to fluid buildup.
A lymphatic massage uses a technique that involves light, steady strokes that help your lymph nodes drain better. A trained massage therapist will identify congested areas in your body and apply lymph massage techniques to those areas to help improve circulation.
An aromatherapy massage is any method of massage using essential oils to rub into the skin. Some studies have shown that essential oils made from certain herbs may provide some pain relief for neuropathy.
Some of those essential oils include lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint. Essential oils can be mixed with coconut or olive oil to dilute them and reduce the risk of skin irritation. Aromatherapy massage can also help to promote relaxation and make the massage more enjoyable.
How To Perform a Massage for Neuropathy at Home
While you may benefit from regular massage therapy sessions, you can get relief from neuropathy symptoms with a home massage. For best results, aim to do a nightly massage session on body parts that are affected by neuropathy (most commonly hands and feet) for at least 15-30 minutes.
Massage your hands or feet as deeply as you comfortably can. Use your thumb and index finger to strongly grasp each toe or fingertip and squeeze from the tip to the base. Roll your ankles and wrists to stretch out your joints. Then deeply stroke the sides of your feet moving in an upward motion towards your knee.
After, massage in between your toes and through the arch of your foot. Do similar strokes for your hands making sure to massage between each finger and the palms of your hands.
Consider using massage oil or aromatherapy oils to help make the massage more comfortable and effective. Do these massage therapy techniques nightly for a month or more to get the most benefits and pain relief.
Massage has very little risk of serious side effects, but you can potentially injure yourself if you apply too much pressure or get a deep tissue massage from someone who’s untrained. Massage should never be applied to body parts of areas of the skin with open wounds, infections, or injury.
Massage Therapy and Natural Supplements for Neuropathy
Massage therapy should not replace your doctor’s prescribed treatment methods for your neuropathy. However, it can be used in addition to other medications or therapies.
Natural supplements might also be considered for treating your neuropathy. Taking a multi-nutrient supplement like NeuraZenx can be used as an extra measure to relieve and restore nerve damage.
Neuropathy is difficult to treat as it is nonresponsive to many treatment methods. Furthermore, prescription medications and therapy can be costly prompting many to reach for more natural, alternative treatment options. Consuming a daily supplement like NeuraZenx that’s formulated for treating nerve pain and massage therapy may help reduce symptoms of neuropathy safely and effectively.
Massage for Neuropathy: The Takeaway
Neuropathy is a painful chronic health condition that affects a large portion of the adult and elderly population. Your best defense against neuropathy is to prevent it by practicing healthy lifestyle habits and avoiding physical actions or situations that may lead to neuropathy.
For those who suffer from chronic neuropathy pain, various treatment options should be considered. Massage therapy and natural supplements are safer alternatives to prescription medications and costly therapy. However, you should always check with your doctor before stopping any prescribed medication or therapy.