An autoimmune condition occurs when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy skills. Usually our defence mechanism against infection and other enemies, in these cases the immune system turns against the body and it is not hard to imagine what serious consequences that can have. And diagnosis have spiked in the past 50 years[1] among patients with diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel diseases (mainly Crohn’s disease) or celiac disease, just to name a few[2].

Because of the intricacy of these conditions, few or none treatment options are available. With science pushing boundaries, the biologics market has bloomed in recent years providing millions with care options and even cures. However, these type of medicines come with many challenges – from manufacturing complexity as they require highly sensitive processes to costs which can be far from affordable for many. As all drugs, they also come with side effects and contraindications which for many people can be a deal breaker.

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As important as it is to work towards refining and improving these type of medicines and raising awareness of their importance in a hope systems will take notice, finding alternatives or complimentary options might be just as well. To put it into context, think about the fact that as many as 50 million people suffer from some form of autoimmune disease[3] in the U.S. alone, with millions more around the globe. Massage therapy can throw its hat in and benefit a significant percentage of them.

Research backs up the potential benefits specific techniques can have on various autoimmune diseases. Take for instance, a 2014 Canadian study[4] conducted on 24 multiple sclerosis patients who underwent 2 massage sessions per week for a month. Participants were randomly split into two groups. One received massage therapy while the other group did not. The technique used was a full body Swedish massage for 45 minutes with an emphasis on lower extremities. Results showed participants from the first group experienced an improvement in overall health and wellbeing. This shows great potential for the future, particularly if a person decides to incorporate it in their lifestyle.

Furthermore, studies reveal promising results in rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to being able to achieve muscle release across joints, massage therapy can impact a patient’s state of mind and can even delay progression of symptoms when performed by a therapist.

Despite the stigma it receives, massage therapy has been offering support among the autoimmune disease communities. Helping promote blood flow, relaxation, spinal alignment, psychological improvements, various techniques can at the very least improve the quality of life in diabetes or gastro patients. Massage therapy can transform into a valuable aid in relieving pain and promoting general well-being. Also having an active lifestyle, despite of how many times you have heard it, is vital. It means making sure your body gets equipped with all available resources to fight the condition.