Massage for Arthritis

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Can Massage Help Relieve The Pain of Arthritis?

Massage is much more than just a personal indulgence. Ask someone who has used massage therapy to manage chronic pain caused by arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.  The branch of the National Institutes of Health, which is The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), says that almost 9% of Americans employ massage therapy to help alleviate their pain.1 Some evidence suggests that massage can affect hormones which relate to anxiety, heart rate and blood pressure, all of which are otherwise increased by the pain of arthritis.  For instance, the stress hormone, cortisol, can be lowered, serotonin can be increased and a neurotransmitter responsible for transmission of pain can be lowered, all of which can decrease your pain level.  Another positive result of massage on these three hormones is better sleep.

Although there are many medications available to treat arthritis pain, people appreciate the relief they receive from massage. The benefits to massage are innumerable and it is difficult to list them all. However, below are the most beneficial to relieve pain from such chronic conditions as arthritis:2

  • Relaxation – When you are in constant pain from arthritis, it is impossible to relax and the muscles, joints and connective tissues are relaxed by massage.
  • Changes in circulation – As your muscles and joints begin to relax, your blood flow improves, your blood pressure may be lowered, your cells enjoy a healthy exchange of oxygen and nutrients and even your lymph flow may be improved.
  • Pain relief – Along with the relaxation and changes in circulation, your pain will be lessened and become more tolerable in this state of relaxation.
  • Improved joint movement – This is a welcome benefit in someone who suffers from arthritis.
  • Physical and psychological improvement – When your body is restful and relaxed with all of the above improvements, there is a resulting psychological state of well being which is restored.

Massage therapists are very aware of contraindications and modes of massage which should not be utilized in your case, and they always appreciate your sharing any concerns you may have.

As always, check with your primary physician.  Probably to be avoided would be a massage therapy using strong pressure or moving your limbs in uncomfortable positions in the event you suffer from osteoporosis.  A good common sense approach should be taken in this case.

There are more studies underway which will give us even more scientific proof that massage does indeed have a positive effect on lowering the debilitating effects arthritis pain.

If you live in Green Valley, AZ, Sahuarita, AZ or in the Tucson AZ area and you have arthritis, schedule an appointment today!

1 http://www.arthritistoday.org/arthritis-treatment/natural-and-alternative-treatments/remedies-and-therapies/benefits-of-massage.php

2 http://www.arthritisselfmanagement.com/health/complementary-alternative-treatments/the-benefits-of-massage/?page=all

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