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Massage/Spina Bifida


I would like to know the goals,rewards,indications, contraindications, Environmental Considerations, Challenges, adaptations and assistance, safety, equipment and supplies for Spina Bifida massage?

Hi Adrian ,

Thanks for your question!

Before attempting any form of massage for clients with spina bifida it is best to find out which of the 3 forms of spina bifida the client is suffering from. I am not going into the details of what happens during spina bifida sufferers. It can be found on the internet if you google it.

1/ Spina Bifida Occulta is a hidden form of the condition which usually goes unnoticed

2/ The meningocele type usually affects the meninges of the brain where the brain menginges pushes itself through the spine instrad of the nerves.

3/ The most common of all is the myelomeningocele where loss of feeling is felt in the lower extremities.

It is to be made clear that no form of massage will ever cure these conditions unless the therapist professes to be a cowboy.

Massage should mainly be focused on the lower extremities where there is loss of sensation. Emotional and tactile sensations are known to benefit these conditions. You might wish to avoid, or use very light pressure on the defect area of the spine and it would be best to ask a medical professional/neurosurgeon if one is not sure of where these are.

The outcome of massage therapy in these clients depends on the nurturing touch given by the practitioner where tactile sensations are believed to be improved.

There are no particular supplies and equipment I am aware of apart from the normal massage oils and couch/plinth.

Not many studies have been done on the effects of massage therapy on spina bifida sufferers and most of them have been inconclusive. I know that there are some studies being undertaken in sweeden and the US regarding the use of Deep Brain stimulation for spina bifida and dystonia sufferers and TENS (Transcutaneous Electronic Nerve stimulation).

Whatever the condition of the sufferer, it is best to find a competent Massage therapist who has the experience of working on these conditions.

As regards patient adaptations, these need to be discussed with an Occupational Therapist and this goes beyond my expertise.

Kind regards
Jeremy Lanfranco  


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Jeremy Lanfranco


I can answer any questions about massage. Muscle and joint pains. I am also a practitioner in Esalen massage. I am also medically conversant so I can answer any questions you might have regarding the interaction of medicine with Massage Therapy.


16 years experience as a part time massage Therapist. 29 years experience as a Dental Hygienist (full time)

British School of Yoga Associate


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Look my name up in youtube to see me at work.

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