Lots of people see massage as a mere indulgence or luxury, but for individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis, it can mean the difference between relief and soreness. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, NIAMS, also state that when performed by a licensed massage therapist, massage therapy could aid in controlling pain, improving tendon and muscle flexibility, and increasing joint motion. Muscles function by taking the joints through various ranges of motion, but when you have rheumatoid arthritis, your joints are inflamed, so they get tight and painful, but if you can ease this inflammation, then you can get relief, notes a board certified and licensed massage therapist in Salt Lake City specializing in sports injury and various massage therapies.
If you want to try massage therapy for rheumatoid arthritis relief, below are conventional massage therapies you can try:
- Swedish Massage: The most requested type of massage therapy for rheumatoid arthritis relief, Swedish massage involves using circular movements and long kneading strokes for loosening tightness in the body. Pressure could range from light to very deep, according to the preference of the client. The main goal of the massage is to promote proper blood circulation to relieve inflammation. It’s also vital to note that each individual has different levels of pain tolerances, so you need to provide feedback to your therapist whenever you feel significant pain during therapy.
- Lymphatic Massage: Likewise called detox massage or lymphatic drainage massage, this type of massage involves using patterned, light strokes to aid the drainage of excess lymphatic fluid. It is also popular among people with RA since most RA sufferers have excess fluid buildup in their body due to inflammation.
- Hot Stone Massage: This kind of massage involves the use of hot stones that will be strategically placed on your back. These heated stones will direct heat to your tissues and muscles to release tension, promote relaxation, and ease inflammation. Aside from placing hot stones on your back, your therapist will also knead your muscles.
- Myofascial Release: The primary goal of myofascial release is to manipulate the connective tissues or fascia surrounding the nerves, blood vessels, and muscles. It involves the stretching and release of these connective tissues through the gentle rolling of the skin. Aside from relieving joint inflammation and pain, it can also help correct muscle imbalances, improves neuromuscular efficiency, and improve the range of motion of the affected joints.
Massage therapy can aid in reducing the inflammatory process in people with rheumatoid arthritis, which in turn will help alleviate arthritic pain. But still, many RA patients are on the fence about massage therapy. The key is to work with your doctor to find out which kind of massage therapy would be most suitable for your specific case. This is crucial since the right massage therapy for you would depend on the kind of arthritis you have, the severity of your condition, and your massage therapist’s skill level and experience. You can also ask your massage therapist for recommendations on what kind of massage therapy will work best for your condition.