Utilizing Chair Massage to Address One Woman’s Health in Ghana, West Africa: A Case Report

Posted:Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gold Award Winner 
Cathy Meryanos
Conway, South Carolina

Thank you to Massage Warehouse for for their generous gift to our gold case report winner!

Background and Objectives: There is limited access to healthcare in rural Ghana and virtually no rehabilitative services available. This case study presents a unique opportunity to utilize chair massage in addressing women’s health in rural Africa, particularly when it comes to muscle pain and fatigue from heavy labor. The objective of this study is to determine the results of chair massage as a strategy to reduce neck, shoulder, and back pain and increase range of motion.

Case Presentation: The patient is a 63-year-old Ghanaian female, who was struck by a public transport van while carrying a 30-50 pound load on her head. The accident resulted in a broken right humerus and soft tissue pain. A traditional medicine practitioner set the bone. There was no post-accident rehabilitation available. At the time of referral, she presented complaints of shoulder, elbow, and wrist pain. In addition, she was unable to raise her right hand to her mouth for food intake.

Results: The results of this case study include an increase in range of motion, as well as diminished pain in the right shoulder, elbow, and hand. There was also a decrease in muscle hypertonicity in the thoracic and cervical areas, and a profound increase in quality of life for the patient.

Discussion: This case study illustrates how therapeutic chair massage was utilized to address a common health concern for one woman in rural Africa. It also demonstrates pre-exiting myoskeletal issues and pain may be eliminated with massage intervention. Massage therapy may be important to ameliorating certain types of health problems in remote rural villages in low income countries.