Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Therapeutic Massage For Stroke Patients

Activities Of Daily Living

Massage Therapy After a Stroke

The first comparison was performed. The MD for activities of daily living at the endpoint evaluated by the Barthel index was 1.91 and in the long-term it was 0.26 .

Forest plot of comparison of Tuina massage plus conventional physiotherapy versus CP for activities of daily living assessed by modified Barthel Index.

How Can Massage Help Stroke Patients

When patients first arrive from hospital, they often have swelling in the area most affected so at first I focus on reducing the swelling with gentle massage. This gentle massage encourages the body’s natural lymphatic drainage process, which assists the removal of toxins and waste products that build up under our skin, which in turn reduces the swelling.

This gentle introduction is also effective in helping my clients get used to the feel of a massage, as many of them have never had a massage before. It also helps them get used to new sensations for a part of their body that now feels very different. It encourages them to become accustomed to that body part being touched, rather than hiding it away unseen which is often very natural for those who have lived through a stroke.

Once the swelling has gone down, I work with the residents to increase the pressure each week and also the length of massage time. We focus on the body part most in need, whether it is the hand, arm, leg or part of their face. I bring pressure/stress balls with me to set them exercises to do whilst I’m there and also during the week, to keep muscle movement to a maximum every day. It’s important to monitor this though so that muscles are not suddenly overused.

Here’s a reminder of how we can identify a stroke in others, and act FAST to help

Overview Of Stroke Physiology

A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident , is an interruption of blood flow to a specific part of the brain. The exact location of the stroke determines the damage that occurs to the nervous system. There are two basic types of stroke: brain hemorrhage and brain ischemia. In the case of brain hemorrhage, there are two subdivisions: subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage.

Subarachnoid hemorrhage means there is bleeding into the spaces around the brain. A collection of blood between the brain and cranium can cause pressure injury to the sensitive brain tissue, because the blood cannot swell outward against the cranium instead it pushes inward against normal brain tissue.

Intracerebral hemorrhage means there is bleeding directly within the brain tissue. In similar fashion, there is brain injury due to pressure from a collection of blood within the tissue and irritation of free blood to the brain tissue. Brain hemorrhage accounts for approximately 20 percent of the total number of strokes, with subarachnoid and intracerebral evenly distributed.

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Massage In Stroke Patients Have Been Shown To:

  • Improve Mobility specific nerve centres may be stimulated using acupressure in massage
  • Relieve Fatigue increases the levels of energy by releasing muscle tension and reducing the stress hormone cortisol.
  • Help Insomnia activates parasympathetic nervous system responsible for allowing your body to relax.
  • Improve Circulation good circulation stimulated by massage delivers oxygen-rich blood to damaged, tense muscles
  • Increased circulation can also help alleviate cramps
  • Alleviate Symptoms of Depression physically stimulating the nerve receptors of the nervous system causes a release of the mood-lifting chemicals serotonin or dopamine into the body.

The day to day quality of a stroke survivor’s life may be improved by massage.

Please always speak to your doctor before undergoing massage or similiar therapies.

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Massage Therapy For Stroke Rehabilitation

Finger Rehabilitation Training Equipment Stroke Patients Hand Massage ...

A stroke, or cerebrovascular accident occurs when blood flow to a particular area of the brain is interrupted, or when an artery in the brain bursts and floods the surrounding tissue with blood. A stroke caused by an obstruction of blood is called a cerebral ischemia, while CVAs caused by a ruptured artery are known as cerebral hemorrhages.

Ischemia strokes are by far the most common, counting for roughly 80 percent of CVAs. Depending on the severity of a stroke and where in the brain it occurs, the damaging effects can range from mild to severe and include:

  • Weakness, numbness, tingling or paralysis to limbs, facial muscles or sometimes an entire side of the body
  • Impaired vision
  • Inability to walk or problems with coordination and balance
  • Problems with chewing, swallowing and speech

Patients in recovery from stroke may receive support from a diverse range of healthcare professionals, including speech therapists, physiotherapists, neurologists and registered massage therapists. Massage therapy can play an important role in the patients recovery process, helping to improve nerve function and joint mobility while relieving stress associated with the trauma of a CVA.

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Stroke Rehabilitation At Our Hospital

At Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Mechanicsburg, stroke rehabilitation is what we do, and that makes a difference. If you or a loved one have experienced a stroke, choose our hospital as the next stop on your journey to recovery.

Part of the nations largest provider of inpatient rehabilitation, we know stroke rehabilitation and are committed to helping you achieve your highest level of independence.

Our hospital works to provide the highest-quality care to each of our patients. By using an interdisciplinary team approach, which includes physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, rehabilitation physicians*, case managers, pharmacists and dietitians, our experts work together to create a customized care plan designed with each patients unique goals in mind.

What The Study For Massage Benefits For Stroke Patients Shows

Outcome measures were self-reported anxiety and pain systolic and diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. These were evaluated before the massage on the first day of the study and after the massage on the last day of the study, as well as three days after the massage sessions had ended. For subjects in the control group, the outcomes were measured on day one and seven of the study, and three days later.

The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory was used to gauge participants anxiety levels, and the Vertical Visual Analogue Scale was used to measure pain. The research nurse measured subjects blood pressure and heart rates.

Results of the study of the Massage benefits for stroke patients showed that subjects in the massage group had significantly lower pain, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate, compared to subjects in the control group. Three days after the massage had ended, these improvements were maintained among the massage recipients.

The results of this study support the view that , as an alternative adjunct to pharmacological treatment, is a clinically effective nursing intervention for reducing anxiety and shoulder pain in elderly stroke patients, state the studys authors.

Source:Hong Kong Polytechnic University Department of Nursing and Wong Chuk Hang Hospital, in Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Authors: Esther Mok and Chin Pang Woo. Originally published in Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery, 2004, Vol. 10, pp. 209-216.

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What Is Stroke Rehabilitation

At Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Mechanicsburg, we know the effects of a stroke are as unique as each of our patients. We also know that many conditions experienced after a stroke may improve with time and specialized rehabilitation.

Through a coordinated care approach, we implement a personalized treatment plan for each patient, proactively communicating and collaborating across multidisciplinary teams. We deliver integrated care that adapts to meet a patients specific needs, and base their care plan on their unique goals. Features of our stroke program include:

  • Community resources
  • Industry leader in patient/family health education
  • Continuing care and referrals

Helping Stoke Patients With Massage Therapy

Therapeutic Massages for Epileptic Children & Stroke Patients

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.

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!

Phone: 206-932-5950

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Tai Chi Helps Improve Balance

Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese tradition that involves a series of slow movements and stretches coupled with deep breathing. The body and mind work together to perform coordinated movements by focusing on each posture as it flows to the next, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Research shows that the practice can help stroke patients improve balance, too. A review published in May 2018 in the journal Clinical Rehabilitation looked at 10 studies involving over 700 participants who suffered from neurological disorders and found that tai chi was effective in reducing fall incidences in Parkinsons disease and stroke.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or bursts. When this happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs, so it starts to die.

Since a stroke can happen quickly, it is important to understand the warning signs to get medical help immediately . Stroke warning signs include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg or trouble with vision or difficulty speaking.

A stroke can result in difficulties in moving, performing daily tasks and talking or comprehending. The type and extent of the difficulties depends on the size and location of the stroke.

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Massage Benefits For Stroke Patients

Recent scientific studies have revealed that when stroke patients are massaged, they experience increased mobility and decreased pain and depression, which can reduce their dependence on medications. A gentle massage also supports stroke recovery and improves muscle function. Keep in mind that massage therapy is not recommended in acute care due to circulatory problems a stroke survivor may likely have. However, it can be an important part of post-acute care.

Massage Improves Mobility in a Stroke Patient

Massage therapy greatly benefits stroke patients with mobility issues. Using different massage techniques in manipulating the affected muscles stimulates blood flow, regenerates muscle tissues and improves the patient’s range of motion. The long, gliding strokes and circular friction of Swedish massage can help improve muscle coordination and mobility. Incorporating acupressure in a massage therapy session is also advisable as this can stimulate specific nerve centres.

Massage Relieves Fatigue in a Stroke Patient

One of the most common and long-term side effects of stroke is fatigue. Symptoms related to fatigue include never feeling rested, excessive sleep, slower speech and movement, shortness of breath, lack of care and interest, and a strong desire to be alone.

Massage therapy can increase the energy levels of the stroke patient and assist them in conserving it. It is done by releasing muscle tension and toxins in the muscles and reducing cortisol, a stress hormone.

Stroke Rehabilitation: 3 Complementary Therapies

Electric Hand Massage Ball Vibration Compress Stroke Hemiplegia Recover ...

May 21st, 2008

Learn how bodywork can play a valuable role in helping to prevent stroke in those who are most vulnerable, and help victims recover with dignity. Of the five million stroke survivors in the United States, more than three million have some resulting disability or degree of impairment. Discover three complementary therapies that have been shown to help in stroke recovery and rehabilitation.

Want to earn continuing education credit for this article? Learn more.

June 2015

Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke. It is the fifth leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer and the number one cause of adult disability. Eighty percent of strokes are preventable, according to the American Stroke Association.

Depending on the severity, recovery can be long and difficult. A major stroke can result in a person being unable to walk or speak a mild stroke makes recovery easier and resulting disabilities are barely noticeable. Quick intervention, within 48 hours, is most effective in reducing the negative impact of damage to the brain. Unless you work in a hospital setting this is difficult but, as doctors become aware of how massage helps, this may change.

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Risk Of Bias In Individual Studies

The risk of bias assessment was assessed by two authors using the PEDro scale . In cases of doubt or disagreement, a discussion took place with a third reviewer until a consensus was reached. The PEDro is an 11-item scale, in which the first item relates to external validity and the other 10 items assess the internal validity of a study. The higher the score, the greater the studys risk of bias as assessed by the following cut-points: 910: excellent 68: good 45: fair < 4: poor .

Do Strokes Only Affect The Elderly

Strokes can affect us at any time, though we are more prone to strokes the older we become. Some people are also more at risk of a stroke than others . Strokes do not discriminate, and nor do I. I am here to help whatever age or background you are, so please do get in touch if you think I can help.

Living through a stroke can be a highly emotional time for the patient and their families. I can only imagine how much change is involved, both physically and psychologically. I understand it can be a time of loneliness for many so I hope I can help, if only just a little.

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Neuromuscular Complications Of Stroke

Every stroke is unique and the extent of damage to the body is determined by the location of the stroke in the brain. That is, the resulting deficits correspond to whatever that particular area in the brain controls, such as speech, movement, memory, cognition, etc. Sometimes these deficits are permanent and sometimes they can be reversed by initiating immediate therapy. Other times, the brain finds circuitous routes that establish an alternative connection. Research has demonstrated that brain cells can send out dendrites that can grow to one inch in length over a year, to find re-connections. And who knows? Recall the claim that we only use 10 percent of our brain. Perhaps that leaves 90 percent on standby. In other words, rehabilitation is not an exact science and the body is built for survival, ready to accommodate to its needs.

Stroke frequently results in some degree of paralysis and or paresthesia . There are two main types of paralysis: flaccid paralysis and spastic paralysis . With flaccid paralysis there is no nerve impulse transmitted down the limbs and thus muscles are unable to react. Flaccid paralysis causes the limbs to wither and hang lifelessly. This can contribute to shoulder strain and subluxation as the arm hangs heavy with no shoulder-joint muscle tone.

In Part 2, well look at the basis for massage therapy with stroke clients and the approach to take for massaging the client with stroke history.

Massage And The Stroke Patient

massage therapy for stroke patients

If youre a professional massage therapist, if you havent already encountered a special-needs client, eventually you will. While massage is generally safe for just about everyone, no matter what their health issues, at times massage might not be the best approach. And with others, adapting techniques or simply being aware of special needs can help you deliver the best care for a particular situation. Although some bodywork therapists might be hesitant to offer their services to someone who has suffered a stroke, it can be an extremely beneficial component in the recovery plan for the patient. Massage for the stroke patient is best performed by someone with a background in medical therapeutic massage, such as hospital massage. If youve got the correct training, there is no reason to be wary of a stroke patient.

The first thing is to make sure the person has the consent of their doctor before having a massage. Chances are a neurologist is involved, and you should consult with him or her. Massage therapy doesnt increase the risk of the person having another stroke, but there are precautions you should take.

NEW Clinic Phone Number: 612-229-1166

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Stroke Center Of Excellence Winner

The Stroke Center of Excellence award is part of Encompass Healths internal recognition program to highlight accomplishments within our rehabilitation hospitals. It is achieved through a dedication, hard work and superior patient outcomes. To meet strict certification criteria, hospitals must provide high quality services, and the program must meet The Joint Commissions Gold Seal of Approval® and hold The Joint Commissions Disease-Specific Care Certification in Stroke Rehabilitation to qualify.

Massage Therapy For Stroke Patients

As we know from my previous post on how massage therapy can help people with arthritis, many residents in the care home have arthritis, while several residents are stroke patients. I visit these residents three to four times a month, helping to assist their rehabilitation plans. Its important to remember I am not medically trained, and my support should only ever assist rehabilitation plans. However, very few people know how much massage therapy can help, so I thought Id share a few of my findings to spread the word of the benefits of massage therapy for stroke patients

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