Stretch Therapy as RLS Treatment
I passed the big, pink sign on my way to the library, “Stretch Therapy: Now Open!” I Googled it. Fascial Stretch Therapy helps relieve “overactive muscles.” I have those!
In addition to restless legs syndrome, I deal with emotional stress by holding tension in my body. As a result, I have tight, painful knots in my legs which make my restless legs syndrome worse.
Massage therapy never gave me long-term relief
I never felt long-term relief from massage therapy. In the moment, it might have felt relaxing to have a massage therapist work on my muscles, but as soon as the session was over, my symptoms would be back. If a therapist did a more deep tissue massage, I’d often sweat from the pain of their touch.
Sometimes a massage therapist could work out my knot, but only for a little while, and the pain of the massage would sometimes cause me to tense up other muscles. I’d leave the massage with fewer knots in my shoulders only to have hip or glute pain from clenching.
Trying stretch therapy
I booked a free 15-minute session. I told my stretch therapist about my issues with tension and muscle pain and she poked around at me, pulling on my legs and twisting me up, often using her full body weight to shift me around. After only 15 minutes, I felt taller, longer, and less tense. I booked a 25-minute session for the next week and started going semi-regularly.
Not only did my muscle pain decrease, but the experience didn’t hurt the way massage did. My restless legs rarely bothered me on nights after a stretch therapy session.
I’d been to PT, had tried many exercises, but stretch therapy was able to help me target my pain points and tension spots like nothing else.
Relief comes with an out-of-pocket cost
Sadly, my insurance doesn’t cover stretch therapy. I budget for it. My person costs approximately the same as massage therapists in my area and I see her every other week if I can for 50-minute sessions.
It’s expensive, but it provides me with muscle release and helps me sleep better at night, not plagued by tense muscles and wiggling legs.
Trusting my stretch therapist with my body
In my most recent session, I told her something out loud I hadn’t realized. “I trust you, physically, more than anyone else in my life,” I said, with a little bashful embarrassment.
I love my kids’ snuggles, but they are chaotic and liable to head butt me by accident. When I was married, my husband didn’t know how to help me with my sore, tight muscles and either didn’t try or unintentionally hurt me when I asked him to try. I’d never had a doctor, physical therapist, or exercise instructor be so hands-on. I could let my stretch therapist hold my limbs and pull me in all directions without tensing up or trying to assist her.
There was a little pause as my stretch therapist changed positions and considered my statement. Was she embarrassed that I trusted her more than my friends or other loved ones? Was she feeling sorry for me?
“It’s an honor,” she said and I could hear the smile in her voice.
Do you feel comfortable advocating for yourself in a medical setting?