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Whether a massage is good or not and to what degree really depends on your specific type of arthritis. As there are over 100 different varieties of arthritis out there and what works for many probably won’t work at all for some others, especially in the case of comparing auto-immune based arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis to other types of arthritis.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, a massage may not be a very useful treatment method in a direct sense. That is not to say that it is completely useless though. In this absolute worst-case scenario for the efficacy of a massage on a type of arthritis, it is still possible to gain benefits from massage. One major thing that massage will help with even in the case of auto-immune based arthritis is that certain styles are great for opening up and encouraging flow through lymphatic pathways which is your body’s waste disposal system. 

By encouraging this flow you help your area of inflammation process away unwanted byproducts from exertion or cell damage and help promote healing. Another major benefit that massage offers is that it helps reduce stress by lowering cortisol levels and filling the body with all sorts of mood-positive hormones. Your mood actually has an effect on how much you feel pain and how negatively it affects you. When life is going well and you’ve got things going on a little chronic pain isn’t nearly as bad as the same pain would be when you are stressed out of your mind. This reduction in stress also helps promote a night of more restful sleep and being well-rested also promotes the healing of the body and further increases mood thus reducing the sensations of pain that could grind your day to a halt.

When it comes to other types of arthritis the help offered by massage is even greater as trained professionals can target the source of your arthritis pain and help improve joint flexibility and range of motion, reduce inflammation and give muscles tensed up from being tied to an arthritis locked joint a break so they can rest and stop aching all day long. It’s even recommended for many arthritis sufferers to try and fit time in for a 60-minute massage every week to feel the results and find natural drug free relief from their pains.

Can Massage Make Arthritis Worse?

When seeking massage to help you with your arthritis pains it is definitely best to find a professionally trained massage therapist who will be better equipped to help you deal with your chronic arthritis pain with a better understanding of how different styles of massage can affect the body. 


Certain massage techniques intended to help your pain could end up doing the exact opposite leaving your joints and muscles aching even more than ever as your flare-up inflammation is further exacerbated. But under the well-trained hands of a massage therapist, you should experience relief and comfort with every visit. 

What Type of Massage Is Best For Arthritis?

Typically the three best massage styles for dealing with arthritis pain are as follows:

  1. Swedish Massage
  2. Lymphatic Massage
  3. Petrissage

Swedish massage is probably the most popular form of massage that focuses on long strokes and circular movements that help loosen up tight and knotted muscles and ease them into relaxation. This type of massage also helps stimulate blood flow to the targeted area which may be what your sore and tense muscles really needed to reduce inflammation and start functioning normally.

But if Swedish Massage doesn’t work or hurts in application for you then lymphatic and petrissage may be what the doctor orders. These are both specialized rehabilitation massages. In the case of lymphatic massage, which is also known as “Detox massage” it helps drain the lymphatic system and reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it. If you’re suffering from sore, stiff and swollen muscles this could be the perfect answer for quick relief.  Petrissage works on the same muscle stiffness as a Swedish massage but instead of applying pressure on the muscles, petrissage focuses on lifting and pulling the skin to gently affect the muscles down below in a less invasive way that can loosen up muscles and provide relief.

Is Massage Good For Osteoarthritis?

Despite osteoarthritis occurring from worn away joint tissue and damage it still responds incredibly well to massage therapy as existing studies have found so far. By manipulating and relaxing the muscles around the affected joints the massage helps promote an increased range of motion as well as lower the presence of cortisol while boosting serotonin. This means that a well-applied massage can relieve both the difficulty of motion in cases but also reduce the sensation of pain. Both of these transitions well into helping the patient live a healthier lifestyle that promotes the reduction of arthritis pain by exercise and regular stretching like in the case of Yoga.

When you’re ready to give massage a try in regards to your arthritis or for any other reason, make sure to check out our special introductory massage package to get the most of your first visit. 

Need Help?

Modoma is a medically directed health and wellness clinic providing physical medicine and rehabilitation. We combine the benefits of massage with the medical practicality of physical therapy.

4944 Preston Rd, Ste 100A
Frisco, TX 75034
corporate@modoma.com
(972) 861-1143