Chances are, you or someone you know has been affected by osteoarthritis (OA). An estimated 20.7 million Americans—most over the age of 45—suffer from the disease, which is also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD) and occurs as the cushioning cartilage between the body’s joints breaks down. The most common form of joint disease, OA is responsible for over 70 percent of total hip and knee replacements.
OA is only one of the 100+ rheumatic diseases classified as “arthritis,” all of which cause pain, stiffness, and joint swelling for the 43 million Americans who are affected by them. Arthritis is the primary cause of disability among those 65 and older. Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are numerous methods of treatment for it, not the lease of which is massage therapy.
Director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine Tiffany Field, Ph.D., has conducted numerous studies on the benefits that massage can offer to people with (and without) arthritis. Through her research, she has found that “massage can result in a significant reduction in pain” for those who suffer from arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation agrees, adding that massage can reduce tension, stiffness, and anxiety while improving range of motion, handgrip strength, sleep quality, and overall joint function for people with arthritis.
It’s no surprise that massage can deliver these benefits. The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine reports that “the benefits of massage naturally align with alleviating the symptoms” of arthritis. They attribute much of the arthritis-easing power of massage to the increase in bodily circulation that it stimulates. By simultaneously distributing oxygen to muscles and carrying away the toxins that they’ve stored up, massage can effectively provide relief to areas of the body afflicted by arthritis.
The keys to alleviating the symptoms of arthritis with massage are proper pressure and frequency. Moderate pressure during massage is necessary to stimulate pressure receptors under the skin, which signal the brain to “release beneficial, stress-reducing neurochemicals like serotonin” (Bernstein, Types of Massage). Greater pressure may be painful to those with arthritis, especially in the areas of their bodies most affected by the disease. Be sure to communicate with your massage therapist—even during your session—about your preferences on pressure. Additionally, a set schedule for massage therapy is ideal for arthritis relief. Monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly massages will be most effective in maintaining comfort, particularly when self-massage is practiced at home between sessions (daily, if possible).
Let the talented massage therapists at Elements Massage Central Scottsdale help you achieve greater wellness through massage! Before setting up your first arthritis-relieving session, consult your doctor about whether or not massage is the right choice for you. Call (480) 941-3077 or visit us online at https://elementsmassage.com/central-scottsdale to schedule today!
Bernstein, S. (n.d.). Benefits of Massage. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/massage/massage-benefits.php
Bernstein, S. (n.d.). Types of Massage. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/treatments/natural/other-therapies/massage/massage-types.php
Khalsa, K. (2002, March 21). Remedies for Osteoarthritis. Retrieved October 14, 2016, from https://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/1768
Massage for Osteoarthritis. (2015, January 31). Retrieved October 14, 2016, from http://www.pacificcollege.edu/news/blog/2015/01/31/massage-osteoarthritis