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  • Erynne Hill, MS, ATC, HHP, BFRC

The Healing Touch: How Massage Can Ease Your Arthritis Pain

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

Arthritis is a common and debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Characterized by joint inflammation and pain, it can significantly reduce one's quality of life. While medical treatments like medication and physical therapy play a crucial role in managing arthritis, complementary therapies such as massage have gained recognition for their potential to provide relief. In this blog post, we'll explore why massage can be a valuable tool in managing arthritis.

A woman's hands with arthitis pain

Enhanced Circulation

Massage therapy promotes improved blood circulation throughout the body. This increased blood flow can be especially beneficial for people with arthritis. Arthritis often leads to joint stiffness and reduced mobility due to inflammation. Massage helps to relax muscles, reduce tension, and improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients to affected areas. As a result, it can help reduce pain and increase joint flexibility.

Reduced Muscle Tension

Arthritis can cause muscles around affected joints to become tense and rigid as the joint inflammation causes changes in the way that the muscles are oriented around the joint. This muscle tension can exacerbate pain and discomfort. Massage therapy employs techniques such as kneading and stretching to release muscle tension, promoting relaxation and reducing stress on the joints. When muscles are more relaxed, it can be easier for arthritis sufferers to move their joints with less pain.

Pain Relief

One of the most significant benefits of massage for arthritis is pain relief. Massage stimulates the body to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers. These endorphins help to alleviate the pain associated with arthritis, providing a welcome respite from chronic discomfort. Regular massage sessions can contribute to ongoing pain management for individuals with arthritis.

Improved Range of Motion

Arthritis often leads to a decreased range of motion in affected joints. Over time, this can result in further stiffness and limited mobility. Massage therapists use techniques that gently manipulate the joints and surrounding tissues, promoting increased flexibility and a broader range of motion. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with arthritis who want to maintain an active lifestyle.

Stress Reduction

Living with arthritis can be physically and emotionally taxing. Stress can exacerbate symptoms and lead to muscle tension, which, in turn, worsens pain. Massage therapy offers a holistic approach to arthritis management by providing relaxation and stress reduction. Reduced stress can indirectly alleviate arthritis symptoms by promoting overall well-being and mental health. Conclusion

While massage therapy cannot cure arthritis, it can be a valuable component of a comprehensive arthritis management plan. The benefits of massage, including improved circulation, reduced muscle tension, pain relief, enhanced range of motion, and stress reduction, can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals living with arthritis. If you or a loved one is grappling with arthritis, consider incorporating massage therapy into your wellness routine. Be sure to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable approach to integrating massage into your arthritis management plan.


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Erynne Hill, MS, ATC, HHP, BFRC, is a Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer and Massage Therapist and has been a part of the healthcare field since 2002. She is the Director of Resolve Wellness, specializing in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Prenatal Massage. Erynne has extensive knowledge of both massage and physiology, even receiving her Master's degree in Exercise Physiology from San Diego State University.


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