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Arthritis and Massage


The Arthritis Foundation states that, "Massage therapy can be a great way to ease the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis, and many doctors recommend massage to their patients with arthritis. Research has shown that massage can decrease stress hormones and depression, ease muscle pain and spasms, increase the body’s production of natural pain-killing endorphins and improve sleep and immune function."

-- http://ww2.arthritis.org/conditions/alttherapies/common_therapies.asp The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), electroacupuncture (EA), and ice massage with placebo treatment for the treatment of pain. Subjects (n = 100) diagnosed with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee were treated with these modalities. The parameters for evaluating the effectiveness of treatment included pain at rest, stiffness, 50 foot walking time, quadriceps muscle strength, and knee flexion degree. The results showed (a) that all three methods could be effective in decreasing not only pain but also the objective parameters in a short period of time; and (b) that the treatment results in TENS, EA and ice massage were superior to placebo.

-- Yurtkuran, M. & Kocagil, T. (1999). TENS, electropuncture and ice massage: Comparison of treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee. -- American Journal of Acupuncture, 27, 133-140.

Children with mild to moderate juvenile rheumatoid arthritis were massaged by their parents 15 minutes a day for 30 days (and a control group engaged in relaxation therapy). The children’s anxiety and stress hormone (cortisol) levels were immediately decreased by the massage, and over the 30-day period their pain decreased on self-reports, parent reports, and their physician’s assessment of pain (both the incidence and severity) and pain-limiting activities.

-- Field, T., Hernandez-Reif, M., Seligman, S., Krasnegor, J. & Sunshine, W. (1997). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: Benefits from massage therapy. -- Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 22, 607-617.

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last update: April 2009



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