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Arthritis: The Medical Massage Approach

Arthritis: The Medical Massage Approach

Monday, March 13, 2023

What is arthritis? 

The simplest definition of arthritis is “inflammation of a joint or joints,” but those suffering from the condition know that living with arthritis is not at all simple. In the United States alone, tens of millions of people, including infants, children, teens, and adults, deal with the pain and discomfort of arthritis daily. Many places, such as Carolinas Center for Advanced Management of Pain, treat arthritis. From a more holistic approach, many seek the treatment of therapeutic massage.

Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and gout are common forms of arthritis. The three types have different causes and symptoms. Osteoarthritis is caused by wear and tear to joints over time, while rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks synovial tissue—the fluid inside a joint—and gout is triggered by a buildup of uric acid in joints, leading to acute inflammation. It’s important to understand your type so you can make informed decisions about your treatment options. The treatments for each are different; for example, massage therapy won’t help with rheumatoid arthritis, but it will relieve pain from osteoarthritis or gout.

Relaxation or therapeutic massage

This type of massage is intended to help reduce stress and muscle tension and provide comfort to aching muscles. If you’re experiencing arthritis pain, consider scheduling an appointment with a licensed massage therapist to ease your symptoms. Several studies have shown that regular therapeutic massages can reduce stiffness and improve the range of motion in patients suffering from osteoarthritis.

Lymphatic massage for arthritis

Many people are familiar with receiving a massage for relaxation and pain relief. But do you know about lymphatic massage for arthritis? It’s not just for those with swelling and fluid retention but also could help with joint mobility. This type of massage addresses how your body moves fluid around as it flows from one area to another. A licensed professional can teach you how to do a lymphatic massage on yourself, which may be beneficial in easing symptoms related to arthritis or another condition.

Vacuum Therapy

Vacuum therapy is an alternative therapy that uses suction created by placing suction cups on the body to treat several medical conditions like headaches, arthritis, post-injury trauma, rheumatism, fibromyalgia, fatigue, and musculoskeletal problems. This mode of treatment promotes self-healing by regenerating capillaries, enhancing blood flow to the problem area, maintaining homeostasis, and reducing inflammation and toxins.


Massage, whether conducted in a softly lit day spa or a treatment room at a physical therapy clinic, is something many people use to soothe sore joints and muscles, ease anxiety, or to help them sleep better. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the National Institutes of Health, reports that massage is one of the most popular complementary therapies used by Americans, with close to nine percent of adults using it.