Reducing stiffness, increasing mobility and easing pain are the bread and butter of massage therapy. So, it is only natural that treating arthritis with massage is a popular choice. Read on to let us help you choose the best type of massage to book whichever type of arthritis you suffer from.
Arthritis is the thinning out of protective cartilage that surrounds joints. It can in theory affect any part of your body, causing chronic pain and immobility in that area.
The most common parts of the body which are affected by arthritis are the knees, hip, neck and feet.
But whether you are searching for a massage to help with arthritic knees or need pain relief from arthritis in your neck, it is important to choose a treatment type which targets the type of arthritis you have.
To choose the most appropriate massage to help with your arthritis, the first thing you need to establish is the type of arthritis you are suffering from.
Osteoarthritis, the type caused by wear and tear of joints over extended periods of time, is best treated by massages which encourage the release of pain soothing hormones and help improve mobility.
When your body is massaged with medium pressure, the nerves under your skin send signals to your brain encouraging it to produce more natural opioids, such as endorphins. These hormones psychologically reduce the level of pain you feel as a result of sore joints and help improve your mood.
One of the most common types of arthritis is osteoarthritis of the knee. Swedish massage, possibly the best known massage style, is the most regularly recommend type to ease knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which the body’s own immune system causes damage to joints. This type of arthritis may be best helped by choosing a massage style which improves blood circulation and strengthens immune response.
A regular course of lymphatic drainage massages can help combat pain from rheumatoid arthritis and also reduce the risk of the condition developing further by reinforcing the body’s immune system.
One of the most popular reasons that people book a massage is to help ease back pain. Whilst most instances of pain or stiffness in the back and neck are acute conditions arising from muscle strain or a slipped disc, this kind of pain can also arise as a result of arthritis developing around the spine. Gentle, pressure point massages such as Shiatsu or acupressure which target stiffness can offer long term benefits for those suffering from arthritic back pain.
Gout, a type of inflammatory arthritis which often arises from unhealthy living, is helped by massages which relax muscle tension around affected joints. Many people experience the first symptoms of gout in their feet, most usually the big toe. Pressure point relaxation therapies, such as acupressure, Shiatsu and Swedish massage are all good choices for reducing toe pain caused by gout.
The best professional massage therapists gain their expertise in performing specialist treatments like Shiatsu and Swedish massage through extensive training and experience built up over many years.
So whilst it is most probably true that receiving a massage for arthritis from an experienced masseuse is more likely to help you feel better, self-massage can also be a very effective pain relief remedy for arthritis sufferers.
By learning how to massage yourself you may be able to provide some relief in between professional sessions.
It has the added benefit of being available instantly - you don’t even need to spend 60 seconds booking your massage online and of course is completely free.
One of the easiest self-massages to learn that can also help with arthritic pain is a foot massage. Follow these 6 simple steps to quickly learn how to give yourself a soothing foot massage.
Appropriately performed therapeutic massage therapy should not make your arthritis worse and should not be painful.
Using moderate pressure strokes and kneading is recommended for helping arthritis. Deeper pressure treatments such as sports massage are best avoided as they may actually aggravate pain by pushing muscles against poorly protected joints.
As always, if you suffer from any medical condition, we recommend you discuss the appropriateness of massage therapy with your GP before booking a treatment to ensure you have no contraindications.