Massage Therapy School and Myasthenia Gravis
It took doctors 48 years to diagnose me with myasthenia gravis (MG). During this time, I had a lot of flares. They all looked a little different than what MG flares usually look like - except for the flare of 2005. It was bad enough that I qualified for disability and received it within 8 months of my application.
I was pretty much bedridden for 2 years. Even after experiencing the breathing, vision, chewing, and swallowing issues that go with MG, the diagnosis was still never considered.
Ticket to Work program
Fortunately, I starting to do somewhat better! All I wanted to do was get off of disability and have some sort of normal job. Let's face it, disability doesn't pay that well.
I got a hold of the local office for vocational rehabilitation services and made an appointment. I was very surprised that I qualified for benefits and I was able to use my Ticket to Work from disability. My doctor did have to sign off that he felt I was capable of attending school for what I had chosen.
Massage therapy classes
In August of 2007 I started school for massage therapy. It was a yearlong course - 4 days a week, 8 hours a day. My round trip drive to school every day took an hour. When I started school, I still needed my walker and sometimes I also needed my neck brace. I had some vision problems as well, but nothing severe enough to keep me from going.
I started off learning chair massage for about 4 months. I had to take our massage chairs to different events to practice. For the rest of the course, I learned different modalities of full-body massages. Sometimes I would give or receive 10 full-body massages a day!
When I was first learning, I had to practice with the other students from the class. We physically had to put in 1000 hours of massage to be able to graduate (mostly full-body massage).
How it affected me
Starting slowly, my body kinda got used to what was going on. I learned proper body mechanics to help so I wouldn't get tired. I drank a lot of water to keep my own body flushed out. If a massage is done correctly, the massage therapist should be just as relaxed as the person who received the massage!
At the end of the year when I graduated (with no MG medication because I was not yet diagnosed) I had gone into complete remission by July of 2008. I stayed in that remission until December 2019 when it decided to show that it was still there. But I finally got a diagnosis treatment.
What I learned in massage school
I learned about the benefits of massage for the body. There are many benefits of having your muscles relaxed from overuse or just being tired. Massage therapy can also:1
- Improve mood, decrease stress and anxiety
- Help with blood flow and circulation
- Improve sleep
Getting back into it
My granddaughter is about 13 years old and is interested in possibly becoming a massage therapist. I like to encourage children, whether they continue or it's just a passing fancy. We brought out my massage chair and video of actually how to give a chair massage so I could send it all home with her to practice.
I haven't been feeling great today, but I gave my son a chair massage. By the end, I was fully refreshed just like when I graduated from school! I really need to get back into giving and receiving, regular massages.
Did you know what myasthenia gravis was prior to your diagnosis?