By Katrina Farber, LMT, BCMT
Arthritis is a commonly known chronic condition commonly associated with age. We often hear the phrase “Well, I’m just getting old. Everything is starting to hurt.” Arthritis is actually a general term used to describe over 100 different joint diseases, though, and can affect people of many age groups. It is not just a disease effecting older adults. Over 50 million Americans suffer with some type of arthritis, which makes it the #1 cause of disability in the country. The pain and discomfort related to arthritis can occur in any joint of the body, and can affect more than one area of the body. (About Arthritis, 2017)
Massage therapy is frequently used to assist with various types of pain management. Arthritis is one of the many conditions often recommended to seek out massage care. For instance, in a study of hand/wrist arthritis, patients were given professional massage care as well as taught self-massage for home care. After 4 weeks, these patients reported less pain and greater grip strength. (Field, 2007)
The pain-relieving effects of massage are numerous. In particular, massage shows indications of changing the biochemistry of the body, which provides relief from symptoms, often for one to several days following the massage session. This includes:
To practice self-massage care at home for arthritis, remember extra pressure does not necessarily increase effectiveness. There is no need to make your hands sore while attempting to help another area. Otherwise, self-massage will be dependent on the area affected. Some areas will be easier to reach than others. Feel free to ask a local massage therapist to teach you some techniques as well. Most are happy to do so, if time is setup for it during the session.
It’s important to remember, one of the most significant habits to make a difference is to make time for your own care. It is easy to get caught up in the many other tasks and demands of our daily lives; to take a day off from our self-care behaviors. But reminding ourselves that our own care is also a “demand” will increase our ability to maintain our lives in a healthy and happy way. Professional massage and self-massage are tools that can help, but only if we use them.
About the Author: Katrina Farber, LMT, BCMT
Katrina Farber, LMT, BCMT, a state-licensed and board-certified massage therapist and certified aromatherapist, has a clinical massage private practice in Memphis, TN focusing oncology massage, auto-immune disorders, and pain management. Please feel free to contact her with any questions. Her website is www.SailleHealingPath.com.
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