An interesting article came out in the spring 2019 Massage Therapy Journal titled “A Multimodal Approach to Scoliosis; Can massage therapy improve idiopathic scoliosis?” The article gave an overview of a 2009 case study about a 40-year-old woman who was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 12.
Throughout her life, she complained of shortness of breath at rest and nausea while exercising mildly and when at high altitude. She also had three to five lung infections a year accompanied with heavy coughing and fever, each lasting three to ten weeks. As an adult, she wanted to see if her respiratory infections and scoliosis could improve with treatment.
She started receiving monthly, whole-body deep tissue massages. The therapist addressed tightness in the right psoas, ribcage wall, and cervical spine as well as scar tissue. The massages were accompanied by daily breathing exercises and torso, ab, and ribcage self-mobilization.
She eventually added daily aerobic and strengthening exercises to the routine. A daily home mobilization program was added next. It lasted 40-60 minutes and included manual traction, release of muscle spasms with pressure, and isometric chest stretches.
Here were her results:
- Noticeable improvement in torso appearance
- Decrease in right shoulder rotating forward
- Increased head and neck mobility
- Decreased discomfort
- Improved breathing
- Increased height by 2 cm
- Vital capacity* increased about 2 liters over about 20 years
- Respiratory symptoms improved and maintained
- Primary cobb angle decreased 10 degrees over 15 years
I was not surprised by these results. In fact they confirmed what I’ve witnessed with my own body and those of my clients for years. Massage is good for scoliosis. Tissue can be moved and loosened in many ways including through self-mobilization and exercise, guidance by an exercise professional, or the hands of a masseuse.
If you need help on how to start moving and releasing tissue, how to find practitioners who can help you, or simply more information on scoliosis and movement, check out the scoliosis resources page on SpiralSpine.com. Movement heals and massage is good for scoliosis. I actually have a standing massage appointment every two weeks to keep my spine happy. What are you doing to help your scoliosis?
*Vital capacity is the greatest amount of air you can exhale after taking your deepest inhale