Hypermobility and Massage

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS-Hypermobility) is a group of inherited disorders that affect the connective tissue of an individual. It affects both genders and crosses all racial and ethnic backgrounds. Symptoms range from:

  • Joint hypermobility – joints stretch further than normal. Joints are prone to subluxation and/or dislocation.
  • Musculoskeletal pain.
  • Skin hyper-extensibility – fragile skin that easily tears or easily bruises, slow or poor wound healing.
  • Arterial/intestinal/uterine fragilities (vascular EDS) to name a few.

There are currently 13 subtypes of classification for EDS.

Up until 3 years ago I didn’t really know anything about EDS, but a client came to me with some considerable musculoskeletal pain due to her hypermobility EDS. Massage will never cure this syndrome but aims to help in the reduction and management of musculoskeletal pain and to aid in the quality of life of a sufferer. Research has shown that Myofascial release can help reduce muscle spasms and provide some short-term relief from pain. But also, treatments using heat, cold and massage can help as long as they are tailored to the individual’s needs. (Levy 2007)

I have found the above to be true as no two treatments are the same as I am completely guided by how the client feels on the day of the treatment. A treatment may include some trigger point work and stripping of the supporting joint muscles if the client is having a good musculoskeletal pain day or Hot stone work and Myofascial release if the pain on that day is more intense.

Below is an account of why an EDS sufferer includes regular massage as part of her care routine:

“I have been having regular treatments with Carla for about 3 years now in a quest to get some relief from my EDS.

No two appointments are ever the same. Carla always spends time listening to what that week’s issues are from a full body flare up to a sub laxed hip to name a few!

Carla has tried a number of different treatments on me from cupping and taping through to myofascial release and massage with the added bonus of hot stones. I always feel comfortable with whatever treatment Carla decides is best.

Massage and myofascial release work wonders on my body the treatment is very relaxing even though we have to work through some sore points, but even with the sore bits Carla is very gentle and talks me through what she is doing. Immediately after a treatment my body reacts in one of 2 ways I either get up and carry on or I am in a very relaxed and fatigued zone meaning I need to go home and rest. I have found that my pain levels are always significantly reduced after a treatment it may not always be instant but within 24hours I feel like a new person. I find that I can walk better and without the snapping and pinging of muscles.

Massage has also helped me get a good night’s sleep which in itself has a very positive outcome. Massage and myofascial release has proved to be a lifeline for me allowing me to maintain a ‘normal’ life and something that I could definitely not do without” – Jenny.

Find out more about EDS and Hypermobility on these NHS sites. 


Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 2nd Edition – Ehlers-Danlos Support Group

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Hypermobility Type [EDS Type III, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type III. Includes: Benign Hypermobility Syndrome, Familial Hypermobility Syndrome, Articular Hypermobility Syndrome]: Howard P Levy, MD, PhD: 2007

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