Natural Remedies for RA : Can Massage Therapy Help Your Pain?

Massage Therapy for RA

Massage Therapy for RA

There are many natural remedies for RA  Massage therapy is one of the most popular.

What is Massage Therapy for RA?

Massage Therapy for RA is usually performed by an experienced therapeutic massage therapist. Massage therapy involves manipulation of soft tissues including muscles, ligaments and tendons.The therapist uses hands , elbows, fingers and some mechanical aids. to treat you.  The massage therapist treating someone with RA treats specific joints that are causing pain.

Results of Research Studies

  • The National Council of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) reports that many people use massage therapy for back and neck pain. They also report that there are many studies that confirm that massage therapy does relieve back and neck pain.
  • Tiffany Field, Phd, director of Touch Research Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine has done many studies concerning massage therapy for RA and other types of arthritis. She reports that massage therapy can lead to relief of pain and stiffness, and improved joint range of motion, hand grip strength and overall joint function. In one study, she studied 22 adults with hand or wrist arthritis were given 4 weekly massage treatments. These people were also  taught how to do simple massage therapy  at home  for 15 minutes each day. This treatment led to reduced pain and increased grip strength.
  • The NCCAM studied 40 people with back pain who received massage therapy. They concluded that the therapy relieved back  pain for up to 6 months after the study.
  • Another NIH study reported that 42 adults with RA in their upper limbs received either moderate or light pressure massage therapy once a week for 4 weeks. The participants who received moderate therapy had less pain and gained greater grip strength and improved range of motion in their elbows, shoulders and wrists.

Most people who participated in these studies found that they slept much better as a result of massage therapy. Many previous studies have concluded that sleep deprivation does increase pain levels.

How Does Massage Therapy for RA Work?

Research has found that massage therapy works by decreasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol and increasing the production of serotonin. This change improves mood and reduces stress. (Many previous studies have reported that stress increases pain levels.) Massage also decreases the production of the neurotransmitor substance P which is associated with pain.

What Should You Do If You Decide To Try Massage Therapy as a Natural Remedy for RA ?

  • Discuss massage therapy with your Rheumatologist. You need to be assured that massage is a safe  natural remedy for you.
  • Search for a licensed Massage Therapist who has experience treating people with RA
  • Inform your massage therapist that you have a diagnosis of RA
  • Do not allow the therapist to provide any massage manipulation that causes pain.
  • In subsequent appointments, tell your therapist how the previous therapy session made you feel.
  • Use caution if you:
    1. Are experiencing a flare
    2. Have severe osteoporosis
    3. Have damaged joints

Any of the above problems should be discussed with your rehumatologist and your massage therapist.

Please Note 

  • Massage Therapy is not a cure for RA . It is simply a natural remedy for RA that may relieve your pain temporarily. Many people with RA find that routine massage therapy helps them manage their pain.
  • Massage Therapy is one of many natural remedies for RA and is meant to make you feel better. If it does not make you feel better, don’t do it.

Help Support Arthritis Foundation Research on September 17, 2041

Make a one-hour massage or facial appointment at a Massage Envy facility in your area on September 17, 2014. Massage Envy will donate $10 to the Arthritis Foundation for every massage appointment made through their web site. Massage will likely make you feel better and help support arthritis research.

What about you?

Have you tried massage therapy? If so. did it help you?




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