The Art of Massage

Working the connective tissue is key

Daily massage can provide temporary relief

Regular massage is important if you are hypermobile or have a connective tissue disorder, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Fascia, the supportive connective tissue of the body, surrounds muscle, bones, tendons, ligaments, and even internal organs. If there is a problem with fascia in the body it can cause significant pain because fascia has many bundles of nerve fibers that run through it. Interestingly enough, at the Tulane Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Clinic, we use ultrasound imaging to look at the health of fascia, particularly fascia that surrounds the muscle. While we do ultrasound-guided fascial treatments to help, we have also noted that massage can help keep fascia healthy.

Massage is helpful for fascial pain, seen commonly in hypermobile patients. Massage isn’t quite powerful enough to “break up” knots (fascial adhesions), but it does increase blood flow to the areas of tightness and pain. Increased blood flow can help heal fascial injuries. Massage, particularly massage with a massage gun or percussion device, can also block nerve pain signals to the brain. Basically, the high-frequency vibration stimulates nerves that relay vibration sense, which results in a block of pain nerve signals to the brain.

Overall, massage is a helpful pain-relieving mechanism, that if done regularly, can result in notable pain relief. Massage guns make accomplishing this easier and less expensive. Here are a few that we like in no particular order:

The version you decide to purchase is not as important as just getting one. The Theragun may be easier to hold with EDS.

Consider consulting with your hypermobility physical therapy specialist on how to best utilize this tool. Typically, 2-3 minutes at each area of discomfort is sufficient.

  • Massage daily to keep connective tissue healthy

  • Fascia is an important tissue that holds the body together.

  • Massage likely increases blood flow to fascial areas where blood flow is poor because of scar tissue.

  • Massage guns can help you get a simple massage at home.

In the mean time…

Check out other resources on our site, or other great information from the Ehlers-Danlos Society.


Research on hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes is far behind other medical diagnoses. It takes the voice of the patient and the support of the community to fund research projects that will allow increased awareness, development of diagnostic criteria and evidence-based treatment protocols.

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