COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a respiratory disease that is typified by difficulty breathing from chronic bronchitis, emphysema or a mix of both.
Massage can play a supporting role in helping to manage the symptoms by reducing associated anxiety and the negative effects of stress hormones but also by improving blood flow to the muscles around the rib cage, encouraging their mobility and relaxation.
The most suitable type of massage will depend on what stage the COPD is at.
Initially, when things are less acute and occasional periods of shortness of breath occur, most massage types are suitable but a relaxing deep tissue massage or a more clinical sports massage or myofascial release treatment can really help with fatigue and with the respiratory muscles that can shorten.
Gentle, less invasive treatments are more suitable if it is harder to do simple daily tasks, for example Swedish Massage, Hot stone, lymphatic drainage, gentle myofascial release or reflexology.
If there is difficulty in moving around, gentle onsite chair massage is probably the best option and still can help with relaxation and general muscular tension.
As with any chronic medical condition it’s important to get your doctors go ahead before trying any complementary therapy and to understand that massage can help with symptoms and is not a substitute for any prescribed medicines.
Mark is an Advanced Massage Therapist at Natural Balance Therapies in Hove. You can read more about their therapies and book online by visiting www.anaturalbalance.co.uk or calling 01273 771441