Archive for tag: arthritis

Massage Can Help Those with Osteoarthritis of the Knee

2014-01-15_knee _smIn two separate studies, massage therapy shows promise in reducing pain and increasing the range of motion for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.

One study had a group of patients attend supervised self-massage sessions twice a week, and taught them a regimen of self-massage techniques to use at home. At the end of the study, researchers found an overall improvement in stiffness, function and pain for the intervention group, while a control group that did not participate in the self-massage remained the same.

In a second study, patients receiving regular weekly or bi-weekly massage showed reduced pain and stiffness and increased functionality.

Here is a summary of both studies prepared by the American Massage Therapy Association.

It's great to know that massage therapy may have the potential to reduce reliance on prescription and over-the-counter pain medication in osteoarthritis of the knee. 

Research on Massage and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Recent findings from the Touch Research Institutes of the University of Miami School of Medicine show marked improvement in those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis after massage therapy.

Specifically, after moderate pressure massage therapy, those with rheumatoid arthritis had less pain, greater grip strength and improved range of motion in their upper limbs. (Read a summary of this latest research.)

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In fact, the Arthritis Foundation has great things to say about massage therapy as a pain relief option for those living with arthritis. Research has shown that massage can lower the body's production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, improving sleep as a result. (Read the three-page report on massage therapy and arthritis.)

When you train as a massage therapist in a clinical environment, you'll have more exposure to clients seeking massage for medical conditions, such as arthritis. A key advantage in earning your massage therapy certification at National University of Health Sciences is its internship in the on-campus integrative medical clinic. Here, you will not only practice massage geared toward relaxation and wellness, but also have the chance to work with clients referred by physicians from a variety of medical specialties. Your massage will be part of an over all treatment plan managed by the client's physician.

Massage for Seniors

Since baby boomers will be the largest population group seeking health care over the next few decades, it's important for today's massage therapist to understand how massage can help seniors, and what special needs they may have. Unlike years past, today's seniors may be more familiar with massage and more open to seeking massage for pain and stress relief.

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However, bringing the benefits of massage to seniors requires special consideration: For example, certain stretching and joint mobility exercises are not advised for older adults. An older person might have difficulty with osteoarthritis as well as decreased flexibility. Changes in older clients' skin will require you to reduce your pressure during a massage.

In National University's massage therapy programs, you'll explore how to address the needs of special populations like senior citizens. That way you'll be ready to work with the largest group of US health care consumers!

In the meantime, the American Massage Therapy Association has two excellent articles about massage therapy that discuss the special considerations of seniors: