Benefits of Massage for Arthritis

Arthritis is one of the highest causes of disability in the US. It is also the leading reason for high health costs and reduced quality of life. It leads to limited activities and range of motions due to stiffness, pain and strength. There are home remedies and medications that keep arthritis at bay. However, massage therapy for arthritis is one of the most effective methods according to numerous clinical studies. 

Massage therapy for arthritis offers numerous benefits and highly recommended even for those who suffer pain on their wrist and hands.  According to studies, regular massage especially full body massage alleviates pain caused by osteoarthritis and significantly improves mobility. 

Below are the main benefits of massage for arthritis. 

Relieves stiffness and joint pain

Relieves stiffness and joint pain

Massage alleviate your arthritis pain and stiffness. Depending on the type of massage, it provides a soothing and relaxing effect on the muscles and nerves. This in effect improves the range of motion, mobility and flexibility. In cases of chronic arthritis, patients are taught how to self massage and advised to have regular appointments with massage therapist. 

Reduces anxiety 

Massage can eliminate anxiety. How does massage do this? It slowly puts your body in a relaxed state by reducing the stress hormone called cortisol while at the same time boosts serotonin that improves mood. Massage improves blood flow, which is responsible for distributing supplements and oxygen to the body leaving you energized and reinvigorated. So if you feel like having a bad day, treat yourself for a massage.

Improves mobility 

Massage not only relieves stiff muscles but also relaxes tissues, tendons, ligaments and makes joints more fluid. Too much physical exertion especially by playing sports leads to sore muscles, tear in tissues and joints causes injuries. This can be a painful and uncomfortable experience. Massage therapy helps these muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints recuperate and return its mobility. 

What type of massage works best? 

There are many types of massage that comes in different techniques, purposes and targets. They come from different countries and cultures around the world. The main purpose is either for relieving pain, stress, relaxation or healing. Some massages also involves cold or heat applications to the skin. When it comes to arthritis, there are some proven massage techniques that help relieve pain and improve mobility. 

Swedish Massage 

Involving long fluid strokes to the muscles and tissues. This is the most common type of massage most people know. It's all about stroking, gliding, kneading, tapping and vibration. It uses oil or lotion for more fluid movements.  This massage is meant to reduce muscle soreness and stiffness and improve blood circulation. 


A Japanese massage technique that targets specific spots which also relieves pain in different parts of the body. It is suited for arthritis because the pressure and strokes of massage differs depending on the level or kind of muscle pain one is experiencing. This massage balances the flow of qi in the body which is believed to be the life force of all living things. 

Lymphatic massage 

A kind of detox massage that targets  the excess fluid in the body that is causing inflammation. It uses light and patterned strokes for the purpose of draining the fluid in the bloodstream and improve proper circulation. One of the benefits of massage for arthritis in this technique is it removes one of the main culprits of joint pain. Arthritis is sometimes caused by excessive fluid. 


 A massage using the technique of lifting your skin and kneading it. It lengthens and stretch the tissue which relieves tension and stiffness. This massage relaxes the muscles by giving it more pliability.  

Booking for a regular body massage can be pricey. Knowing the benefits of massage for arthritis, it is also highly recommended to have massage chairs instead. For instance, Osim's uDeluxe is one of the most popular full body massage chairs. Not only does it perform the necessary techniques of tapping, kneading, vibration, air compression and heat therapy, it also has the patented V-Hand technology. The automated massage programs deliver the same effect of these 4 massages that are beneficial in reducing pain and discomfort caused by arthritis.  

When not to have a massage?

  • If your arthritis is severe and inflamed, it is best not to book a massage and visit a doctor instead. 
  • If you are taking other medical therapy sessions.
  • If you have to, make sure that you get the doctor's approval before getting a massage. It is best to inform your massage therapist of your condition so he or she can skip on the affected areas. 

Arthritis workout

Arthritis workout

There are easy exercises you can perform to relieve your pain. Believe it or not, exercise and being active helps your joints and muscles become stronger if you know the right workout for you. Low- impact exercises like aerobics, yoga and alike are best for relieving pain and discomfort of arthritis. 

Arthritis and diet

Arthritis and diet

Arthritis can also be managed by a well-balanced diet and avoiding foods that may trigger inflammation.

Foods to eat:

  • Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish, walnuts, eggs, canola oil and linseeds 
  • Drink plenty of water 
  • Have adequate calcium, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants

Foods to avoid:

  • Acidic foods such as citrus, oranges, lemons and tomatoes 
  • Dairy foods 

You need to seek your doctors advice before avoiding these food so not to miss any important nutrients. 

Keep arthritis at bay by having the right diet, exercise and recommended activities and therapies. 

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