Massage is one of the most popular healing practices and has proven beneficial for many people with arthritis. Dozens of massage techniques exist, ranging from gentle to intense, but almost all aim to ease stress and sore muscles. For some, it’s also a way to connect and communicate with another human being and feel safe and comforted.
Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, has conducted many studies on the benefits of massage for adults and children with arthritis. Her research has repeatedly shown that moderate-pressure massage can lead to improved pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function in people with OA, RA and fibromyalgia.
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Diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) when she was just eight years old, Camille has her treatment regimen down pat — medicine, movement and massage.
“My rheumatologist recommended that I try getting a massage to deal with some of the more stubborn knots I have in my joints,” says Camille, who is now 24. “I have always loved getting massages, and they have helped my arthritis in ways I would have never guessed.”
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For many of us, getting a massage can seem like a luxury reserved for special occasions.
However, for those with hand pain (including pain associated with arthritis), regular hand massage has been proven to decrease anxiety, improve strength and reduce pain.
Research conducted at the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that a combination of hand massage from a therapist and self–hand massage is likely to be effective in the easing of hand pain caused by arthritis and other conditions. The study analyzed adults who received a massage on their affected hand(s) by a therapist once a week and also performed self- hand massage daily. Results showed that the combination of massages could possibly reduce hand pain up to 57 percent.
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