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Is Massage Good For Peripheral Artery Disease & Can You Live A Long Life With It?

Peripheral artery disease is one of the most common diseases encountered by healthcare professionals with more than 8 million Americans affected by this condition. In general, many people are familiar with the term Coronary artery disease. This is a disorder where there is a narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries.

The same blockages can lead to the brain which can increase the risk of cerebrovascular disease. Both coronary and carotid arteries are vulnerable to the buildup of cholesterol and fatty deposits. Therefore, it can occur in renal arteries, the condition that develops away from heart and brain is referred to as peripheral artery disease.

Does Massage Therapy Improve Symptoms For Peripheral Artery Disease?

Peripheral artery disease causes pain in several parts of the body due to the reduced flow of blood to the limbs. Massage therapy is one of the recommended options for soreness, injury, and pain triggered by peripheral artery disease. It can help ease pain and discomfort however should be followed under your healthcare advisory. There are few techniques highly recommended for peripheral artery disease patients

Butterfly Tapotement- Tapotement is the most underused type of massage therapy. It is a gentle technique used to loosen muscles that have been hardened due to blockages especially in the legs and long muscles. Butterfly tapotement comprises of percussive actions involving rhythmic tapping similar to butterfly movements to manipulate the soft tissue of the body to relieve muscle spasm and pain.

Fluffing – This has been the method most people prefer when opting to go for massage because they are effective and highly therapeutic. Relaxation, rehabilitation, and increased circulation are a few of the benefits you get through fluffing technique. Doctors suggest this method since it doesn’t tear or cause bruises to the affected muscles.1,2

Massage therapies can reduce patient’s symptoms dramatically however when not done properly can face chronic consequences. In addition to the therapies, lifestyle modification and medications can minimize the progression of the disorder.3

Can You Live A Long Life With Peripheral Artery Disease?

Long Term Prognosis In Peripheral Artery Disease Patients

Without treatment, peripheral artery disease can be chronic and turn life-threatening. In worst case situations, may require amputation or result in limb ischemia. However, changes in lifestyle, physical activities, and claudication medications can help slow or halt the development of blood clots. Patients need to understand that they can modify their lives and be in the driver’s seat in managing their health.

A study was conducted on peripheral artery disease patients affected with Stage II (Fontaine) and the condition was monitored. All these patients were treated with antiplatelet medicine. Mortality rates of these patients were higher despite the medications, but the underlying factor was known to be cancer. People suffering from peripheral heart disease are also at increased danger of getting a heart attack, stroke, or temporary ischemic attack.

Peripheral artery disease is an asymptomatic condition, so most people never discuss their problem with their doctor and live a life of discomfort. On the contract, your doctor can analyze your risk and can help you live a long-lasting life.4


  1. “MN Massage Therapy and Peripheral Artery Disease.” CenterPoint Massage & Shiatsu Therapy School and Clinic, www.centerpointmn.com/massage-therapy-peripheral-artery-disease/.
  2. “Tips for Living With Peripheral Artery Disease of the Legs (PAD).” WebMD, WebMD, 5 Nov. 2018, www.webmd.com/heart-disease/tips-living-with-peripheral-artery-disease.
  3. Franklin, Nina C, et al. “Massage Therapy Restores Peripheral Vascular Function after Exertion.” Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4037335/.
  4. Fiotti, N., et al. “Long Term Prognosis in Patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease Treated with Antiplatelet Agents.” European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, W.B. Saunders, 3 Sept. 2003, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1078588403003186.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 28, 2020

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