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Massage for Arthritis

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in our nation. We commonly associate arthritis with the older population, however, there are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions that span across different ages groups and races. There is even juvenile arthritis that affects children under the age of 16.

The most common symptoms of arthritis is swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and pain.

Massage can help reduce pain that is caused by arthritis and is meant to complement treatments recommended by a physician. A great piece of advice that was given to my own mother who has rheumatoid arthritis is “if it hurts, don’t do it.” Same with massage, if your pain or inflammation becomes aggravated by massage then perhaps consulting with your doctor on what your next course of action should be.

Caution should be used if you have:

  • Varicose veins

  • High blood pressure

  • Damaged or eroded joints from arthritis

  • Flare ups: inflammation, fever, or skin rash

There are some techniques in massage that require a considerable amount of pressure, keeping an open line of communication with your massage therapist during the session and providing feedback on your pain levels or any discomfort will help your massage therapist to maximize the benefits.

If you’d like to try another holistic approach, essential oils are another great way to help reduce inflammation caused by arthritis. My top favorites are:

  • Peppermint

  • Lavender

  • Eucalyptus

  • Ginger

You can apply the essential oil as a topical or mix the oil in with your favorite unscented lotion. If you like to take baths, you can add a few drops to your bath water. Peppermint is by far my favorite and praise it's ability to effectively reduce inflammation and joint pain.