Sjogrens is a disorder of the immune system classified by two most common symptoms: dry eyes and dry mouth. Sjogrens often accompanies other immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Other symptoms can include:
Swollen salivary glands (specifically the glands located behind the jaw and in front of the ears)
Joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
Persistent dry cough
Numbness and tingling in arms and legs
Skin rashes or dry skin
While the exact cause of Sjogrens is unknown it is believed to be caused by a combinations of genetics and exposure to a virus or bacteria. Most cases are seen in women over 40 and affects 1-4 million individuals in the US. It is said that women are 9 times more likely to be diagnosed with Sjogrens than men and is rarely seen in children.
Because this syndrome is primarily linked with other autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and scleroderma (type of lung disease); these all affect connective tissues.
During times of remission deep tissue massage and other rigorous types of body work should be safe. However, during flare-ups, massage has to be more on the relaxation/energy work side as to not exacerbate symptoms. Gentle face massage can help and close communication with the massage therapist during the session is crucial.
Research on the effectiveness of massage for individuals with Sjogrens Syndrome is still needed. The extensive research concludes that moderate massage stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, not only relieving pain and anxiety, but also increasing blood flow.
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