Neuromuscular Massage: An Alternative Treatment Option for COPD Patients

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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), also called chronic bronchitis or emphysema, affects an estimated 30 million Americans. According to the COPD foundation, the prevalence rate here in Georgia is 6.9 percent. If you’re among the many people suffering from COPD, you know how challenging it can be to manage the symptoms. You may experience a chronic cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Plus, even in summer, you may find yourself prone to catching a cold or coming down with the flu.

Perhaps the worst thing about having COPD is that there is no known cure. However, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make if you have been diagnosed with COPD. If you smoke, doctors recommend that you try to quit, since smoking can exacerbate symptoms and speed the progression of the disease. Also, you should come up with a plan of action in case of an emergency. Beyond that, there are also a variety of lifestyle changes and alternative treatments that COPD patients can explore to help improve quality of life including neuromuscular massage therapy (NMT).

Neuromuscular Massage Therapy (NMT) for COPD Patients

One of the treatments that has been considered for COPD patients is neuromuscular massage therapy (NMT). This is a highly specialized form of manual massage therapy in which techniques are used to identify and release spasms and contractions in deep muscle tissue. By relaxing these tissues, NMT can help improve tissue flexibility and support restoration of damage.

Over the last few decades, there have been several different research studies exploring the effectiveness of manual massage therapy for reducing the symptoms of COPD. For instance, one small study showed that four out of five patients who got weekly NMT treatments for 24 weeks experienced an increase in thoracic gas volume, peak blood flow, and forced vital capacity. There were also significant improvements in heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure. Although the study needs to be applied on a wider scale, it suggests that if you have COPD, it might be worth giving NMT a try.

Of course, massage won’t cure your COPD, but at the very least, it could help improve your symptoms. That’s especially good news during the summer, when you might be exposed to lung irritants like pollen or barbecue smoke. Also, since massage may reduce shortness of breath, you can enjoy a brisk morning walk or keep up with the kids in the backyard, without having to worry as much about your breathing.


Atlanta Chiropractic and Wellness offers Neuromuscular Massage Therapy that is tailored to your individual needs, and it can provide relief for a wide range of conditions, including COPD. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

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