Massage for Chronic Fatigue: Can Massage Boost Your Energy Levels?

Massage for Chronic Fatigue: Can Massage Boost Your Energy Levels?

Feeling tired after a long day is normal. But for those with long-term fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), the feeling doesn’t ever seem to go away. With this level of exhaustion, you might find yourself fighting the urge to nap all day long — and no matter how much sleep you get, it can still feel like it’s not enough.

If you live with CFS, you may already be working with a physician to find a treatment that works for you. But can lifestyle changes — like massage for chronic fatigue — boost your energy levels? 

Here’s what you should know about massage and chronic fatigue, including the potential benefits and how to get started.

Understanding Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a puzzling condition marked by long-lasting exhaustion. Sometimes, doctors will refer to it as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). 


Chronic fatigue syndrome can look (and feel) like:

  • Feeling drained and tired all of the time, even after getting a significant amount of sleep
  • Taking a long time to recover after physical activity due to post-exertional malaise (PEM)
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Sleep issues
  • Difficulty with concentration and memory 
  • Flu-like symptoms

There’s currently no known cure, but the good news is that symptoms can — and often do — improve. In fact, up to 40% of people with CFS report feeling better after several years, and research is underway to learn more about the treatments that can help.

Not everyone who has long-lasting fatigue has CFS. So, be sure to talk with your doctor if you’ve been feeling persistent tiredness but aren’t sure where it’s coming from. They can help you get to the bottom of it, as well as point you in the direction of your next best steps.

Massage’s Benefits for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Many people with CFS use complementary therapies like massage to support their physical and mental well-being. But can massage therapy help with your energy?

Because of its natural healing benefits, it often can. Many people report that a good massage helps with sleep, aches and pains, mood, and quality of life. And together, these effects could support your overall energy levels.

Is There Any Research on Massage and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

In one 2009 trial, researchers looked at a type of massage known as intelligent-turtle massage for CFS. They found that it helped participants improve symptoms, more so than traditional massage.

Additionally, a systematic review from 2011 showed some positive evidence of massage for CFS, although the studies have been small so far. With this in mind, more high-quality studies are needed to understand the benefits, the best types of massage to try, and how it all works. 

Massage, Stress Management, and CFS

Have you ever gone through a high-stress period of your life, only to feel completely wiped out for days or even weeks afterward?

Stress can play a role in feelings of exhaustion, and research has shown that life stress is a common factor for people living with chronic fatigue. Fortunately, massage can be a powerful stress-reliever. And if you find that stress impacts your energy levels, this could make it a beneficial addition to your self-care routine.

What’s the Best Massage for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?

Everyone reacts differently to massage, so it’s best to start with gentle pressure and adjust from there. Once you’ve got an idea of how your body and muscles respond, you could try:

  • Visiting a licensed massage therapist. Many people find that Thai massage, an active modality, is remarkably energizing. Otherwise, Swedish or light pressure massage are both good places to start.
  • Foam rolling exercises. Foam rollers can be a low-cost way to relieve tension at home. They’re fairly simple to use, and there are countless exercises to try.
  • Using an electric home massager. This option makes receiving a therapeutic massage incredibly simple. If you try an electric massage tool, just remember to be mindful of the pressure levels and how your body reacts.

Helpful Tips for Getting Started

Here are some tips that can help you get the most out of your massage routine:

  • Talk with your doctor before trying massage. They can give you personalized guidance to keep your body and health safe.
  • Start low and slow. Not everyone can access a massage therapist, and that’s okay. If you’re trying massage at home, just be sure to start slow and light, and adjust your routine according to how you feel.
  • Remember to stay hydrated and prioritize a good night’s sleep after each session.

Are There Any Risks of Trying Massage for CFS?

The truth is that fatigue — and especially CFS — is a unique experience for each person. So, what works for you might not work for someone else. And while many people feel that massage relieves tension and refreshes their bodies, others may feel that it makes them sleepier.

Deep pressure massage modalities can lead to tiredness for some people. So, if you want to try deeper massage therapy — such as deep tissue or a massage gun — just be sure to start with small bouts of it. 

Aside from that, postpone massage and talk to your doctor if you have any health conditions that massage could impact. Some examples include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Skin conditions or infections
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Current injuries
  • Kidney disease
  • Blood clotting disorders

The Bottom Line on Massage and Chronic Fatigue

Massage is a natural complementary therapy that can benefit certain people with chronic fatigue. And thanks to its sleep and stress-relieving benefits, you may find that it helps with your overall energy levels, even if you aren’t diagnosed with CFS.

Be sure to check with your healthcare team before trying massage, especially if you want to use it alongside a current treatment routine. Once you’ve got the green light, you can work with a masseuse or start a self-massage routine to reap the wellness benefits at home.

Therapeutic Massage at Home 

If you’re ready to try massage but don’t want to visit a spa every week, MedMassager can help. MedMassager offers powerful, physician-trusted tools to bring you revitalizing massage at home, whenever it fits your schedule.

View our collection of restorative massage tools here, or learn more about their many benefits today.

Reading next

Does Massage Help Joint Pain? What the Science Says
Shoulder Blade Massage: 4 Simple Techniques for Pain Relief