A stroke, also known as a cerebrovascular accident (CVA), happens when the blood supply to a specific region of the brain is cut off or when a brain artery bursts, causing blood to fill the nearby tissue. Cerebral ischemia is the medical term for a stroke brought on by a blood flow restriction. In contrast, cerebral haemorrhages are the medical term for CVAs brought on by an artery rupture.
Ischemic strokes account for about 80 per cent of CVAs, making them by far the most prevalent type. The negative effects of a stroke can be modest to severe depending on its intensity and where in the brain it occurs, and may include:
- Feeling of weakness, numbness, tingling, or paralysis in the limbs, facial muscles, or occasionally an entire side of the body
- Distorted vision
- Walking difficulties or problems with coordination and balance
- Chewing, swallowing, and speech difficulties
- Loss of memory
A wide variety of medical specialists, such as speech therapists, physiotherapists, neurologists, and licensed massage therapists, may offer assistance to patients recovering from a stroke. Massage treatment can be particularly beneficial for a patient’s recovery since it can increase joint mobility and nerve function while easing the tension brought on by the shock of a CVA.
Massage therapy for stroke patients
By exerting pressure on the tissues, massage therapy is a therapeutic method that encourages the recovery of muscles and other soft tissues. Palpation, rolling, kneading, rubbing, or pressing can be used to accomplish this along with other methods like:
- Light strokes along the muscle’s length
- Raising and kneading the tissue
- Applying deep pressure by making circular motions with the thumb or fingertips
Massage benefits for paralysis or weakness
Following a stroke, a paralysed or reduced-movement limb has a harder time expelling fluid, which eventually causes the limb to swell up. It has been demonstrated that massage treatments can speed up blood flow to an area by helping to widen superficial blood vessels. This improvement in lymphatic drainage, reduction in swelling, and increase in blood flow can assist improve the function of the affected area and lessen pain from the swelling.
Massage benefits for spasticity
A neurological disease called spasticity causes the muscles to have an abnormal tone or rigidity, which can cause painful or atypical movements. Combining stretching regimens with Botox® injections is a common treatment method.
Even though further research is needed, there is some evidence that particular massage techniques may help reduce spasticity. Massage therapy can assist in preserving joint mobility and assisting in the prevention of scar tissue that might restrict this motion.
Massage benefits for pain
After a stroke, pain may start right away or begin months or years later. Following a stroke, individuals may experience shoulder discomfort due to subluxation, pain related to spasticity, complex regional pain, and central post-stroke pain.
Numerous demographics may benefit from massage therapy’s ability to reduce pain, according to studies. Enkephalins, a neurotransmitter that aids in pain response, are released during a massage, and endorphin production is also increased. Endorphins are your body’s natural pain-suppressing chemicals. This decrease in pain contributes to a higher quality of life while easing tension and worry.
Massage benefits for stress & anxiety
After a stroke, dealing with several changes can sometimes lead to higher levels of stress and worry. By raising serotonin (the feel-good hormones) levels and lowering cortisol levels, massage treatment has been demonstrated to aid in reducing levels of stress and anxiety (stress response hormones). By enhancing mood, motivation, and initiative, these benefits in mental well-being may also have a favourable effect on physical health and recovery.
Massage therapy can greatly aid a patient’s rehabilitation from a stroke. Our certified massage therapists at KJ Therapy can help optimise and supplement other post-stroke therapies that will best serve the needs of the patients.
Our massage therapists have the skills and experience necessary to deal with demanding neurological conditions. Get in touch with us today to learn how our massage therapists can aid in your healing or the healing of your loved ones.