Massage Away Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Sometimes a simple massage is all you need to ease rheumatoid arthritis pain. Here, five tips to make the most of your session.

L. Ann Binstock
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Massage is much more than a feel-good experience. It’s a powerful way to take control of your health and well-being, especially when dealing with the aches and pains of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). You’re likely to get the best results from a trained, experienced massage therapist. Here are a few tips to make the experience useful in easing your symptoms:

Choose a type.
There are many types of massage. Here are several popular techniques:
Targets deep layers of muscle and connective tissue to help repair muscle damage.
Relaxes and energizes by loosening up stiff or cramped muscles.
Trigger point.
Focuses on sensitive areas of muscle fiber that can form after overuse or injury.

Talk about pressure.
Be sure to communicate openly with the therapist about how much pressure you can handle on each part of your body. As the massage progresses, offer feedback on what feels good, what hurts and what needs to be pressed harder.

Don’t eat a heavy meal before a session.
If you feel full and heavy going in, you won’t enjoy someone applying pressure to your body.

Take a sauna, steam bath or hot tub soak beforehand.
This will help loosen your muscles and joints and give you a head start on the therapist’s manipulations.

Wear loose-fitting clothes.
Therapists would generally prefer that you wear no clothing. If you are not comfortable doing this, wear clothes that the therapist can move out of the way when working on hard-to-reach areas. 

April 2013