Can Massage Therapy Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020
knee massage

Because massage therapy is known to help ease pain, increase circulation and flexibility, and reduce stiffness, it could help with arthritis. How much it helps depends on the type of arthritis present, how long the patient has had it, and how skilled the therapist is. With that being said, massage has been shown to help with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.


Is there proof that this therapy can help with RA?

In a study released by Robin B. Anderson, CMT, NCTMB called “Positive Systemic Effects Using Therapeutic Massage as a Conjunctive Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis,” it was shown that this therapy can help with RA. It showed that patients experienced help with their symptoms directly in the joint area, as well as with the physiological systems associated with the disease. Another study from 2013 showed patients with RA in the upper limbs benefited from moderate pressure massage therapy.

Types of massage that work

There are actually only two main types of massage therapy that are proven by research to help with rheumatoid arthritis. These are methods that use moderate pressure and myofascial release. These can reduce pain and increase range of motion.

Swedish massage

This type of therapy uses long strokes of different pressures to release tension and pain in muscles. If the pressure isn’t enough, see if the therapist will increase it so you can feel similar results to those in the studies.

Myofascial release

This type of therapy uses similar motions to Swedish massage, but with longer strokes. It is meant to loosen and break up tight connective tissues. Getting myofascial release a few times a week (if possible) can help reduce pain and other symptoms of RA. The extended pressure that is applied can help fix any structural issues that could be causing pain.

Deep tissue massage

When it comes to deep tissue massage, the pressure is everything. This therapy helps with soreness and stiffness as well as pain. If the pressure is too much for you, be sure to let your therapist know or consider a different method.

Hot stone massage

This method uses hands-on techniques and hot stones. The stones help relax muscles and decrease pain, while the hands-on massage techniques release muscle knots. Be sure to speak with your doctor about heat before getting this type of alternative therapy, as high temperatures can aggravate joint inflammation.

Getting the right massage therapy for your condition

It is important to know what treatments are available for your RA. But, you should also be confident that you are getting the right kind of massage so you don’t waste your time or make your condition worse. Here are some steps you can take to ensure this.

  1. Talk to your physician. Before you get any treatment, you should consult with your doctor to make sure it is safe. They may be able to give you some advice about massage therapists as well.
  2. Speak with multiple therapists. You want to make sure you get information from different sources. Before choosing a massage therapist, get price and service information.
  3. Do some research. Look at reviews and ratings online, as well as the experience of each professional.
  4. Speak with your therapist. Once you have chosen a massage professional, make sure they understand your specific symptoms. If you are working with a professional who has experience with RA, they should be best equipped to help you.

Massage therapy in Amarillo, Texas

If you are looking for a massage therapist to help you with your pain, contact Back To Basics Massage Studio in Amarillo. We provide a variety of services including Deep Tissue Massage, Cupping, Acupuncture, and Skin Care. Call us at (806) 322-3706 or Send Us an email to learn more.