Massage Therapy has been used for centuries to aid in health, wellness and pain relief. The body of scientific data that supports the use of massage is growing and massage therapy is quickly being recognized as an effective tool for managing a variety of health conditions. Osteoarthritis is one of many conditions that massage therapy has been shown to be effective in treating. Massage therapy has many benefits but compared to conventional medical-based treatments for osteoarthritis, it is safe and has no known side effects.
The Evidence: Massage Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis
A recent study demonstrated that knee pain caused by osteoarthritis was significantly reduced by one 60-minute session of Swedish massage per week. The study was conducted over an 8-week period in a group of 125 subjects. What is most remarkable is that the symptom improvement persisted even after the 8-week treatment period was completed. At the very least, massage therapy should be considered to reduce the use of prescription and non-prescription medications and improve overall quality of life.
Effects of Massage Therapy in Osteoarthritic Joints
Massage techniques help to release muscle tightness and adhesions, which can relieve pressure on affected joints allowing for improved range of motion. Massage can help to improve blood flow to arthritic joints, which will bring nutrients and oxygen to irritated joint surfaces and encourage healing. Massage can also aid in flushing out toxic chemicals and damaged cells that can contribute to increased inflammation with osteoarthritis. As you probably have already experienced, massage can be relaxing and has been shown to release pain-reducing chemicals like endorphins and serotonins as well.
Alternate Treatments for Osteoarthritis
Physiotherapy is another highly effective and evidence based treatment strategy for your arthritis. A physiotherapist will assess what your impairments are and help you restore them. Your physio will mobilize your joints to improve range of motion, teach you stretches to keep your muscles flexible and guide you in a strengthening program so that your joints are well supported by surrounding musculature. Acupuncture, electrical stimulation and laser therapy are all additional modes of treatment that can be used by your physiotherapist.
Don’t feel defeated by your osteoarthritis. There are so many highly effective and scientifically proven treatment methods that can help reduce your pain, improve your function and allow you to enjoy life to it’s fullest.