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Massage Therapy – Benefits for arthritis

Massage Therapy – Benefits for arthritis
13 Jun 16

Massage Therapy – Benefits for arthritis


According to a study conducted by The Arthritis Society, about 4.6 million adults suffer from arthritis in Canada. The figures are projected to rise to 7.5 million by 2036. The condition is one of the major causes of disability and is found to have a massive impact on the quality of life of the affected people. However, recent studies suggest that massage therapy can help alleviate pain and improve mobility among those suffering from arthritis.

Massage Therapy and Arthritis – The Benefits Explained

Even though there are many different forms of arthritis, RA or rheumatoid arthritis, and OA or osteoarthritis are two of the most common types. Massage therapy has traditionally been used for relaxation, anxiety and stress relief, and pain reduction; however, when performed by an experienced therapist, massage therapy can help enhance blood circulation as well as improve joint motion and muscle flexibility.

Osteoarthritis and Massage Therapy

People suffering from osteoarthritis commonly experience chronic pain and stiffness of joints. The condition occurs when the wear and tear in tissues causes damage to the cartilage between joints. The therapy is performed using specific approaches on carefully assessed patients and has been found effective in easing stiffness and pain by relaxing the muscles cushioning the joint.

Some additional benefits include:

  • Reduced pain and improved ROM,
  • Improved blood flow to the areas affected by arthritis,
  • Elimination of toxic inflammatory substances that may aggravate pain and swelling.

Research suggests that Swedish massage techniques and manual lymphatic draining massage techniques are particularly effective in alleviating inflammation and pain. Deep tissue massage is mostly avoided in cases where OA is acute and/or is characterized by inflammation or redness as the massage strokes involve a certain degree of pressure.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Massage Therapy

Moderate pressure massage therapy has been found to be very effective in the treatment of RA, or rheumatoid arthritis. According to a study published in “Complementary therapy in Clinical practice,” people suffering from RA reported significant improvement in their symptoms after regular massage therapy.

Although empirical evidence reinforces the effectiveness of massage therapy in the treatment of arthritis, the results may vary depending on the medical condition of the patient. It is recommended to consult with your doctor before opting for a certain form of massage therapy to make a well informed choice.


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