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A letter to Vermont Health Access Program
by Lainey Rappaport

7 December 2004

To whom it may concern:

Many of the conventional doctors I see just want to give me medication: that is the "easy" treatment approach for them. In my situation, these medications often do not help, are expensive, and have side effects. Massage has no side effects, is inexpensive, and effective.

With the ineffective, conventional treatments and without massage therapy, I do suffer "serious detrimental health consequences." These consequences include being confined to my bed for hours at a time; experiencing pain severe enough to prevent me from cleaning my house, cooking meals, and getting dressed; being unable to maintain regular employment; and missing medical appointments on occasion. After receiving massage, my muscles can relax enough for me to be able to conduct these basic life functions and experience some accomplishments and normalcy for that day.

You have referred to the lack of "credible evidence" regarding the ameliorative effects of massage therapy on Fibromyalgia. Like many chronic medical conditions (ie., Diabetes, Mellitus, Hypertension), Fibromyalgia needs to be maintained through ongoing treatment. Sometimes disease processes cannot be arrested, but symptoms can be managed more effectively. If you authorize me to receive massage therapy regularly for one year, we can compare the differences in my ability to function and therefore, the ability for massage therapy to ammeliorate my symptoms and accordingly, the disease process of Fibromyalgia.

As you know, every book written about Fibromyalgia recommends massage therapy. This excerpt from a chiropractor explains the benefits of massage also. "The benefits of massage include aid in pain relief, rehabilitation, relaxation or physical and mental rejuvenation. Psychological and physiological benefits occur with a massage. On the physiological level, massage increases circulation to all areas of the body, primarily to the muscles that are directly manipulated. better circulation translates to more oxygen and nutrients for body tissues. Massage relieves muscle spasms, prevents muscle tears, spains and strains, increases flexibility and enhances atheletic performance. On a psychological level, massage helps to ease tension allowing peoiple to cope with stress more effectively. It slows racing thoughts and worries, helps individuals to reconnect with their body and brings attention to the mental and physical needs of their bodies so that they may take better care of themselves."
          Written in Dr. Farrell Chiropractic Center Newsletter (12/03/2004) 213 E. Route 15, Jericho, VT 802.899.9991.

I believe it is reasonable for VHAP to provide me with massage therapy because it has proven to help me in the past, it is less costly than anything I have tried, and I have serious health consequences without it.