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Comparison of Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy and Connective Tissue Massage in Women With Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial - Source: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb 2009

  [ 37 votes ]   [ 3 Comments ]
By G Ekici, PT, PhD, et al. • • August 20, 2009

Objective: This study analyzed and compared the effects of manual lymph drainage therapy (MLDT) and connective tissue massage (CTM) in women with primary fibromyalgia (PFM).

Methods: The study design was a randomized controlled trial. Fifty women with primary fibromyalgia completed the study. The patients were divided randomly into 2 groups. Whereas 25 of them received manual lymph drainage therapy, the other 25 underwent connective tissue massage. The treatment program was carried out 5 times a week for 3 weeks in each group. Pain was evaluated by a visual analogue scale and algometry. The Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ) and Nottingham Health Profile were used to describe health status and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Wilcoxon signed rank test and Mann-Whitney U test were used to analyze the data.


In both groups, significant improvements were found regarding pain intensity, pain pressure threshold, and HRQoL (P < .05).

However, the scores of FIQ-7 (P = .006), FIQ-9 (P = .006), and FIQ-total (P = .010) were significantly lower in the manual lymph drainage therapy group than they were in the connective tissue massage group at the end of treatment.


• For this particular group of patients, both manual lymph drainage therapy and connective tissue massage appear to yield improvements in terms of pain, health status, and HRQoL.

• The results indicate that these manual therapy techniques might be used in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia.

• However, manual lymph drainage therapy was found to be more effective than connective tissue massage according to some subitems of FIQ (morning tiredness and anxiety) and FIQ total score.

• Manual lymph drainage therapy might be preferred; however, further long-term follow-up studies are needed.

Source: Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb 2009;32(2):127-33. PMID: 19243724, by School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation, Ahi Evran University, Kirsehir, Turkey. PMID: 19243724, by Ekici G, Bakar Y, Akbayrak T, Yuksel I. [E-mail:]

Please Discuss This Article:   Post a Comment 

Massage therapy
Posted by: loida_faelnar
Aug 26, 2009
I have FM and I have been on once a week maintenance with my massage therapist who uses both techniques. I agree that these types of massage do help.
Reply Reply

Benefits of massage for fibromyalgia
Posted by: SallyMSO
Aug 26, 2009
I have fibromyalgia, and find that when I have a weekly massage, that I feel better, and sleep better. I exercise 5 days a week, with a 50+ fitness class which is 1/2 hour of aerobics, and then another half hour of weights, abs, and stretching. I also line dance two days a week. I feel better when I exercise, but notice, also, a very big difference in my over all energy, tenderness, and sleep when I get that weekly massage. I notice the difference when I don't do either, just as I notice a difference if I don't take my Malic Acid and MSM.
Reply Reply

Posted by: dmurphy
Sep 16, 2009
Can anyone tell me the difference between Manual Lymph Drainage Therapy and Connective Tissue Massage? I have what my therapist calls "deep tissue" massage, and though it does feel good and relaxes me, I sometimes feel very sore the next couple of days. Am I getting the wrong type of massage?
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