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Shoulder pain, neck pain, lower back pain, foot pain, knee pain, sciatica… Many people have been struggling with various types of pain for decades but cannot manage to get rid of them. Chronic pain causes a lot of inconvenience and hinderance to patients’ daily life and social life, especially the elderly, who may find it difficult to cope with their daily activities.

“MassageXercise Pain Relief” is one of the winning teams of the “Silver Age Startups” programme organizeduder the “PolyU Jockey Club ‘Operation SoInno’”. The team members Andy, Margaret and Elaine have learned that it was not too difficult to relieve chronic pain by targeting the root cause some years ago. They have found that by combining Chinese massage therapy and appropriate exercise, they can relieve pain effectively and reduce the chance of recurrence. This innovative idea is derived from the practices and observation that the MassageXercise Pain Relief team has accumulated over the past few years. The story of MassageXercise Pain Relief starts from their retirement.

After Andy, Margaret and Elaine got retired, they were looking for something interesting to do together. They participated in the project “Grand Move” by chance to learn about physical exercise for elders. They became exercise coaches and started teaching other elderly people how to exercise. During the coaching period, they found that many elderly people suffer from chronic pain that impacts their mobility. However, amazingly, mobility of most participants has improved significantly after half-year’s exercise training.

This finding and experience was very encouraging for the team. They were motivated to think about how to help more people to alleviate their chronic pain by targeting the root cause. Soon, they found different courses for further study, including a certificate course for physical fitness instructors. They got to know about traditional Chinese massage (“Tui-na”) and noticed that an appropriate application of traditional Chinese massage can relieve most of the pain and improve recovery. They developed a strong interest in traditional Chinese massage since then. Now, they all have become professional Chinese massage practitioners with multiple certificates.

The idea of combining Chinese massage technique and exercise to tackle the problem of chronic pain does not come from nowhere. Andy explained, “Over the years, many patients with chronic pain have asked for help. Some cases had received combined treatments from Chinese and western medicines for many years but there was not much progress. So when they came to us, we gave it a try. We applied Chinese massage to help them relieve the pain first, and then taught them exercise to strengthen the associated muscles. The results were surprisingly effective.”

“We are integrating what we have learned. If you only know about doing exercise, you will not understand how to relieve the pain; but if you only know about Chinese massage, you will not know how to strengthen muscles. So our purpose is to teach the patients with chronic pain to treat the problem’s root cause.” Andy added.

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▲Service Procedures of MassageXercise Pain Relief

Continue helping patients to relieve chronic pain – a case study

MassageXercise Pain Relief told us about a recent successful case of a 60-year-old woman who had been suffering from pain and mobility impairment for many years because of slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). This patient had sought help from many doctors, but her condition did not improve. The orthopaedist said the problem could only be corrected by surgery and otherwise could only rely on painkillers to relieve the pain. She had also sought treatments from the Chinese massage therapists and acupuncturists for many years but there was no obvious progress. However, her condition has improved after she received treatment from the team of MassageXercise Pain Relief. MassageXercise Pain Relief taught her some stretching exercise as well as other exercise for strengthening muscles. After a three-month period of treatment and training, when the patient laid down, she was able to open up her legs to 60 degrees, compared to only 30 degrees before the treatment, which means the mobility and flexibility of the muscles of her pelvis and legs did improve. The result was encouraging and gave the patient hope of recovery.

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▲The feedback from patients made has helped MassageXercise Pain Relief to build its reputation steadily

The most important is helping oneself and helping other people

In addition to performing Chinese massage to help patients relieve their chronic pain, MassageXercise Pain Relief continues to conduct their regular programme of “energetic 50+” which is a workshop teaches elders to do physical exercise. The class is very popular and is always fully booked within a short time. “I didn’t expect that we would develop this project after my retirement; but I really enjoy it a lot, especially the support from the students.” Elaine said. She added, she wished that she could help more people to improve their health, especially middle-aged people and seniors, to reduce the probability of them developing chronic pain as they age.

Furthermore, they wish to further promote the services of “MassageXercise Pain Relief”.  They are planning to do promotions on Facebook and other online platforms, so that they can reach out and help more patients with chronic pain.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MassageXercise

Written in Chinese: Rena Lau

Translation by: Sui Chu Wu

Photography and Design: Jenny Ma