Lyme Disease and Massage

Ananta Health is excited to introduce January Learmond, our new massage therapist.  January has a strong understanding of Lyme disease, and how to treat those suffering from this illness.  Her story is below:

Lyme Disease and Massage - A Personal Perspective

My experience massaging my husband for the last four years of his journey through Lyme treatment has been a roller coaster ride. Every day is a different, but similar, set of symptoms for him. His name is Tripat, he is 41 years old and full of life. He was originally diagnosed with Relapse/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis approximately 12 years ago and in 2015 was diagnosed by Dr. Rebecca Risk with Lyme Disease. He has remained in the work force for the entire course of his treatment which I find inspiring. I have the utmost respect for anyone dealing with this disease. It is harsh in so many ways and every day is a struggle in some way, shape, or form.

When I massage my husband, his pain seems to come from the same areas all of the time which include his neck, upper back/shoulders, low back and hips. His pain and discomfort is on a sliding pain scale from 5/10 - 10/10 some days. His body goes through fluctuating periods of low to high inflammation. His symptoms include sharp stabbing pain in his muscles/joints, burning pain in his muscles, migraines/tension headaches, increased anxiety, insomnia, muscle stiffness and/or soreness, decreased range of motion, eye pain, muscle spasticity, and muscle fatigue.

I can tell what stage of inflammation his body is in by the temperature of his muscle tissue, how tender he is when I palpate his sore areas, his range of motion, his mental state at that time, and his tissue response to different massage techniques. I hardly ever perform a full body massage with him because it exhausts him for a couple of days afterwards. His body’s immune and nervous systems are compromised to begin with so taxing these systems is not advised. There have been a few times in the past when after massaging him for a 45-60 minute period, there has been limited or no change in his muscle tissue or symptoms. These specific periods, I have theorized, are when his body is herxing or in an acute intermittent inflammatory phase. The time phase during a full moon cycle has definitely become a negative influence in his body as well. Light massage only for short durations is recommended during these times.

I have also learned that there are other proponents to how he feels that are critical to his body’s well-being. It is always his mental, emotional, and spiritual state. High stress times make him feel more awful than usual and for extended periods of time. The mind/body connection is so very important to his overall health. Positive affirmations, yoga, Reiki, and meditation have helped him combat his symptoms in stressful times.

To those suffering with this type of illness, always remember, be kind to yourself, love your body, feed your soul, and book a massage.