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Sep 30, 2022

Following a motor vehicle accident, a client has dystonia—a neurological problem with muscle tone. She is using two powerful muscle relaxants: Botox injections and a baclofen intrathecal pump.

Is there anything massage might do to help? Not only is the answer yes, but we even have some data to back it up!




Books of Discovery:  




Host Bio:        


Ruth Werner is a former massage therapist, a writer, and an NCBTMB-approved continuing education provider. She wrote A Massage Therapist’s Guide to Pathology, now in its seventh edition, which is used in massage schools worldwide. Werner is also a long-time Massage & Bodywork columnist, most notably of the Pathology Perspectives column. Werner is also ABMP’s partner on Pocket Pathology, a web-based app and quick reference program that puts key information for nearly 200 common pathologies at your fingertips. Werner’s books are available at And more information about her is available at   


Recent Articles by Ruth:       


“Unpacking the Long Haul,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, January/February 2022, page 35,


“Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy and Massage Therapy,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, September/October 2021, page 33,


“Pharmacology Basics for Massage Therapists,” Massage & Bodywork magazine, July/August 2021, page 32,    




Pocket Pathology:


Botox for cervical dystonia: Effectiveness and more (2022). Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2022).


Frei, K. (2017) ‘Posttraumatic dystonia’, Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 379, pp. 183–191. Available at:


Intrathecal Baclofen Pump For Muscle Spasticity Treatment (no date) Cleveland Clinic. Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2022).


Keenan, E. et al. (2020) ‘Intrathecal baclofen pump replacements under local anaesthetic: rapid pathway implementation under COVID-19’, British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 16(4), pp. 174–178. Available at: (Picture of a baclofen pump in place)


Lipnicki, M. (2020) ‘Massage Therapy for Dystonia: a Case Report’, International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 13(2), pp. 33–44.


‘Trauma-induced’ (no date) Dystonia Ireland. Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2022).


Traumatic Injury (no date). Available at: (Accessed: 13 September 2022).


About our Sponsor:

About Til Luchau and  

As a Certified Advanced Rolfer™, Til was on the faculty of the Dr. Ida Rolf Institute® for 20 years, where he served as Coordinator and Faculty Chair of the Foundations of Rolfing Structural Integration program. The author of the Advanced Myofascial Techniques textbook series (which has been translated into 6 languages), his regular Myofascial Techniques and Somatic Edge columns have been featured in Massage & Bodywork magazine since 2009, and (along with Whitney Lowe) he co-hosts the popular Thinking Practitioner Podcast. He is the Director of which since 1985 has offered short, credit-approved professional trainings and certification for manual therapists of all types, in person and online.