A stroke occurs when a blood vessel either bursts or gets blocked due to a blood clot, cutting the supply of oxygen to the brain tissue. The affected area of the brain begins to die and this, in turn, adversely affects bodily functions controlled by that part of the brain. A stroke can have long-term effects on the body and the person requires rehabilitation to improve his quality of life. One commonly used rehabilitation technique is massage therapy.
Massage therapy can improve stroke patients’ quality of life on a day-to-day basis. Some of the benefits of massage therapy for stroke patients are highlighted below:
Improved-Mobility: Various massage techniques can stimulate blood flow to the affected muscles and this helps in improving mobility. Many massage therapists also use acupuncture in conjunction with massage therapy to stimulate nerves and this can also improve mobility. One massage technique that can help stroke patients immensely is Swedish massage. This massage technique uses long and heavy strokes to help stroke patients regain their mobility.
Fatigue-Alleviation: One of the effects of stroke is fatigue and can result in stroke patients feeling constantly tired, sleeping too much, suffering from slow speech and movement, desire to be alone, showing no interest in their surroundings and suffering from shortness of breath. These symptoms can be alleviated with massage therapy and it can help stroke patients feel more energized. Massage reduces cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone, in the body and eases muscular tension.
Helps-Insomnia: Some stroke patients may suffer from insomnia due to dryness of the mouth, shortness of breath and stiff muscles. Massage therapy can relax a person physically and mentally by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. That is why it is common even for healthy people to fall off to sleep after a massage session!
Improved-Blood-Circulation: Often poor circulation is one of the main causes of stroke. Hence, improving circulation can prevent another stroke from occurring in the future. Stroke patients often have swollen extremities due to the presence of lactic acid in the muscles which occurs due to decreased mobility. This can be alleviated with massage therapy, as it helps to stimulate blood circulation and ensures oxygen and nutrient rich blood reaches damaged muscles and nerves. This aids in the healing process.
Pain-Reduction: Stiff muscles, cramps and muscular tension are a common problem amongst stroke patients and this can result in pain. Massage therapy can address stiff and sore joints by increasing blood flow to the affected parts of the body. When these parts can sufficient blood, cramps and pain can reduce.
Alleviates-Depression: Majority of stroke patients suffer from depression due to their physical state. This can be addressed by massage therapy, as it stimulates the body to release serotonin and dopamine which are mood elevating hormones and have an uplifting effect on the person. In addition, the relaxing effect that the massage has on the body reduces the levels of stress hormones and helps to combat depression.
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