Stroke rehabilitation and massage therapy

A cerebrovascular accident (CVA) or stroke happens when there is an interruption in the bloodstream to the particular region of the brain or when the vein in the brain floods or bursts the nearby tissue with blood. When the stroke is caused due to blood obstruction, it is referred to as cerebral ischemia. Cerebrovascular accidents are caused because of ruptured arteries referred to as cerebral hemorrhages.

About 80% of cerebrovascular accidents are caused in the form of ischemia strokes that are very common. According to the stroke severity and where it occurs in the brain, the damaging effects range between mild and severe. Its effects include:

  • Memory loss
  • Problems with speech, swallowing and chewing
  • Inability to walk and issues with balance and coordination
  • Impaired vision
  • Numbness, weakness, paralysis to facial muscles, limbs or tingling, or paralysis in the entire part of the body

Patients who are recovering from stroke may obtain support from various healthcare professionals like registered massage therapists, neurologists, physiotherapists, and speech therapists. Massage therapy is important in the recovery procedure of the patient. It helps in improving joint mobility and nerve function and relieves stress connected with the effect of CVA.

How does Swedish massage help in stress relief and enhanced range of motion?

Some of the reported benefits of Swedish massage therapy for stroke are as follows:

  • Improved joint function
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Relief from anxiety because of loss of function and trauma of the cerebrovascular accident.

In the Swedish massage therapy, long gliding strokes are applied and it helps in relaxing the entire body. It decreases cortisol levels and helps in serotonin production. It also increases blood oxygen levels and stimulates circulation all over the body.

Why should you incorporate therapeutic exercises?

Several studies demonstrated that many stroke patients with numbness, swelling, and abridged range of motion (legs and arms) benefit from improved mobility and sensation after the Swedish massage therapy. Professionals who have massage therapy training give therapeutic exercises to the treatment plan for the patients. It includes simple stretching and strength exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility.

They may also recommend techniques to help stroke patients regain certain basic movement and coordination skills they have lost as a consequence of their disrupted neuromuscular patterns. Stroke rehabilitation can be started after a cerebrovascular accident occurs. The massage therapist would develop a treatment plan according to the patient’s condition for certain years or months.

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