Osteoarthritis and Massage

Monday October 28, 2013

Adapted from American Massage Therapy Association

There have been several studies suggesting massage therapy helps relieve the pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Recently, the results have again been affirmed by research supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Results showed that participants rated their pain had improved significantly in the 60-minute massage groups compared to usual care, as did the visual analog pain scale. The study also suggests that these results are lasting.

As the population ages, studies suggest the incidence of osteoarthritis will increase by 40 percent by 2025. Research has shown that conventional therapies are limited in effectiveness and side effects associated with some drugs limit use, leaving invasive surgery as one of the main ways the symptoms of osteoarthritis are relieved.

This recent research, combined with a 2006 study that also showed massage therapy was effective in reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, provides evidence that people with this condition might benefit from weekly, 60-minute massage therapy sessions.

Massage and Inflammation after Exercise
Recent research through the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, indicates that massage therapy reduces inflammation of skeletal muscle acutely damaged through exercise. The study provides evidence for the benefits of massage therapy for those with musculoskeletal injuries and potentially for those with inflammatory disease, according to the lead author of the research.

The study found evidence at the cellular level that massage therapy may affect inflammation in a way similar to anti-inflammatory medications.