I was reading some articles the other day about massage therapy for those who suffer from osteoarthritis. And, it was pretty revealing to me.
Does massage benefit arthritis sufferers?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, massage can help with arthritis in two ways. First, it reduces muscle pain that is usually caused by spasms. Second, it increases your body’s ability to produce endorphins which reduces pain. Now, I do not know about you but this sounds pretty good to me.
Going back to a study reported in late 2006, some clinical findings regarding osteoarthritis of the knee had a lot of good to say about massage. In a December of 2006 article, The Archives of Internal Medicine said that those receiving massage therapy had less stiffness, pain and increased physical function in their knees.
A similar study was done in 2006 that focused on those who suffer arthritis in the hands. The Touch Research Institute found that massage on a regular basis eased the symptoms that flowed from that arthritis. That included less depression and anxiety; less pain; better gripping power; and in general, greater improvement.
So, what does it do?
There are really two issues with massage therapy as it relates to arthritis. The first is what it accomplishes. That is, that massage helps the arthritis sufferer by loosening up the joints. Namely, in the muscles and ligaments that break up the adhesions that slow or hinder motion. And, when gentle joint stretching is done it can actually stimulate the production of synovial fluid which acts as a cushion. This reduces inflammation and pain.
Frequency of the therapy
Just like all therapies, this requires some attention to repeating to make it most effective. Sure, the first time you go in you will get some relief. But, to get the most out of it you really need to do massage therapy on a regular basis and it is best to use a therapist with experience with OA sufferers. (The risk is that they do massage too deeply if they are not used to working with OA)
The best schedule seems to be seeing a therapist once a week for about a month and thereafter, once a month should keep you on track.