ALS News Today Forums Forums Living With ALS Does massage therapy help to maintain overall function and muscle strength?

  • Does massage therapy help to maintain overall function and muscle strength?

    Posted by diana-belland on September 18, 2019 at 10:15 am

    Since my ALS diagnosis over six months ago, I have followed a regular daily program of gentle exercise at home and at my local YMCA.   I also have a 30 minute private Pilates session once a week.

    On another site I follow, PatientsLikeMe, I often see comments about the benefits some pALS feel they are getting from their regular massage sessions.

    I wondered if any of our Forum members have found massage therapy to be helpful and if they were able to have it covered, at least in part, by their medical insurance or Medicare.

    Thank you!

    dagmar-munn replied 4 years ago 2 Members · 1 Reply
  • 1 Reply
  • dagmar-munn

    September 18, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    Hello Diana – – what a good question!

    Massage therapy is an excellent way to relax and release tight muscles (and relax the brain as well!). The only way to maintain muscle strength is through movement (exercise) … so massage doesn’t improve strength, but by relaxing and releasing muscle tension – – massage contributes to helping us continue to function well.

    During my pre-ALS days, I was so physically active that a once-a-month massage kept me going. I continued getting regular massages for the first two years of my ALS. Then the massage therapist moved. I found a new one, but she was further away. Meanwhile, I found my legs becoming stiffer and getting onto the table was difficult. Getting off required help as well! So, unfortunately I quit going. But – – I would recommend massage for anyone with ALS – – for as long as you can do it 🙂

    None of my sessions were covered by insurance. Insurance requires a doctor’s order, which usually means you end up at a physical therapist for a short massage session. The slow and low rate of reimbursement by insurance companies prevents many private massage therapists from accepting these clients.

    I would be interested in learning other member’s thoughts and experiences with this.

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