Massage for Rheumatoid Arthritis


Massage has been used for centuries to improve health and ease pain in the body-mind. There are more than 100 different types of bodywork they include deep tissue massage, acupressure massage and Swedish massage.  Each one has it’s own technique and approach to bodywork. The benefits of massage therapy for rheumatoid arthritis are increased circulation, flexibility and massage can strengthen the immune system, reduce pain,stress and anxiety.  There is scientific evidence that massage lowers cortisol(stress hormone) levels and  improves immune system function.

When deciding on a massage it is important to find a competent massage therapist that is familiar with rheumatoid arthritis and or other autoimmune disease(s) that you may have. Find a therapist that  is trained in many different techniques.  They will be able to guide you in choosing the best therapy for your particular needs. You can  also check with The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork or The American Massage Therapy Association for a listing of certified massage therapists in your area.

Check with your insurance company before you schedule an appointment with a massage therapist.  The session may be offered at a reduced rate through your insurance provider or it may be covered if your doctor prescribed it. Check with your rheumatologist before you make the appointment, he/she may be able to recommend a therapist or give you specific cautions.  Make sure that if you are flaring to hold off until it is under control. Do not have massage on an inflamed joint, it may make it worse.

Once you have the appointment, make sure that you express what it is that you hope to gain from this experience.  Maybe you just want to relax or perhaps there is a particular part of your body that needs special attention.  Be clear about the amount of pain or discomfort that you are experiencing prior to starting the massage and communicate if you are experiencing pain during the process.  When the massage is over make sure to drink plenty of water.  Massage increases circulation and releases toxins trapped in tight muscles.  Water will help to flush out those toxins.

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