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Vertigo Massage

What Is a Vertigo Massage and Can It Actually Help?

Question:

I get dizzy a lot… especially if I stand up really fast, or if I’m looking down a long flight of stairs. It used to happen occasionally, but lately it’s been happening more often. I was talking to a friend about it and he suggested seeing a doctor, but I don’t really think it’s all that serious. I was researching on the internet and saw some stuff about vertigo massage… what is it and can it actually help?

Answer:

First of all, your friend was right – you should probably visit a specialist. While vertigo is pretty common and typically not a cause for concern, it could also be an early symptom of something more serious. If your dizziness has been recurring periodically for more than a week, you definitely want to rule out any medical issues that need treatment.[1] A specialist can also give you advice on other treatment methods that would help ease your condition.

Vertigo massage is scientifically proven as an effective treatment for some, but not all, types of vertigo.[2] However, it’s not a treatment that has been researched extensively, and the studies that exist are sometimes contradictory. An article published in Chiropractic and Osteopathy found only two reviews that evaluated the benefits of massage for relieving vertigo. One of these reviews found the treatment was effective, while the other concluded there was limited evidence of its effectiveness.[3]

However, massage is something that has plenty of benefits on its own, and few if any side effects. Massage decreases tension and can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s also been proven to ease the symptoms of depression and help you sleep better. So even if massage doesn’t directly “cure” your vertigo, it still has a lot to offer.[4] When you talk to your massage therapist, tell them about your vertigo and find out if they have any experience treating vertigo with massage.

Keep in mind that massage is meant to be complementary – a weekly massage in conjunction with other therapies may yield positive results for you. Generally speaking, most vertigo patients improve with regular massage therapy. To achieve lasting results, book a massage once a week at a time and place that’s convenient for you. Noticing a significant change in your vertigo is unlikely after one massage. Any improvements you notice from massage aren’t permanent, either. You may find that your vertigo returns if you stop your weekly sessions.[5]

References:

[1] Mayo Clinic: “Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV),” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/vertigo/symptoms-causes/syc-20370055

[2] Chiropractic and Manual Therapies: “Manual Therapy with and without Vestibular Rehabilitation for Cervicogenic Dizziness: A Systematic Review,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182131/

[3] Chiropractic and Osteopathy: “Effectiveness of Manual Therapies: the UK Evidence Report,” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841070/

[4] American Massage Therapy Association: “25 Reasons to Get a Massage,” https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/1/News/detail/3124/25-reasons-to-get-a-massage

[5] The Anatomy of Wellness: “Treating Vertigo with Massage Therapy,” https://theanatomyofwellness.com/2016/09/vertigo-can-massage-therapy-help/

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