A healing touch: Regular massage can significantly improve symptoms linked to arthritis
04/05/2019 // Edsel Cook // Views

Patients suffering from arthritis can get drug-free pain relief through the healing efficacy of whole-body massage treatment. A recent study showed that taking regular sessions of massage therapy can help alleviate the painful symptoms of the chronic disease.

The experiment was conducted by researchers at Duke University who gathered 200 patients diagnosed with arthritis of the knees. The participants were split into three groups at random.

Every week, the participants received different levels of massage according to the group they belonged to. The untreated group did not get any kind of massage; the control group got light-touch massage; and the massage group received a full-body treatment.

Following eight weeks of this treatment (or lack thereof), the participants were randomly reshuffled into three groups. They would get either no massage treatment, light-touch massage, or whole-body massage for another 44 weeks. The trial period lasted 52 months in total.

Every two months, the participants were given a survey form that asked about their ability to walk, get on their feet from where they are seated or lying down, climb up stairs, and leave their vehicle. They were evaluated according to the amount of pain and stiffness that they experienced during those activities, as well as the limitations they encountered during ordinary bodily functions. (Related: Getting a massage is a safe way to relieve arthritis pain and increase mobility, according to study.)

Whole-body massage restores mobility and relieves pain for arthritis patients

During the eighth week of the experiment, the Duke researchers reported that massage therapy produced considerable beneficial effects in the parameters established by the above-mentioned survey. Whole-body massage patients displayed reduced pain and better mobility than their counterparts in the light-touch massage and untreated groups.


After the conclusion of the trial period, some of the participants continued to receive massage therapy every two weeks. These patients were able to keep the improvements in pain relief and mobility that they enjoyed by the eighth week of treatment during the study.

The researchers released the results of their experiment in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Their findings indicated the potential use of massage therapy to control the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability in the United States. More than 30 million Americans have been diagnosed with the chronic disease.

While there are pharmaceutical drugs that can bring pain relief to patients suffering from osteoarthritis, they also exhibited harmful side effects. These drugs were known to cause nausea and serious complications in the heart and kidneys.

The healing potential of massage therapy

Massage therapy, on the other hand, did not have any negative side effect. Furthermore, its benefits are not limited to providing pain relief for arthritis patients.

Getting regular sessions of massage treatment could alleviate stress, relax stiff muscles, increase limberness, and boost physical performance during sports. It could also help speed up the healing process of injuries, brighten the mood, and make it easier to sleep and rest.

The Duke study is just one of an increasing number of research efforts that are vouching for massage therapy as a safe and effective approach to improving health problems. In these studies, massage has been linked to accelerated healing of burn scars, alleviating the side effects of cancer therapy, and providing considerable relief from serious chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia.

In conclusion, massage therapy is a natural, safe, and effective treatment for acute and chronic pain caused by all kinds of health problems. People who experience recurring pain, stiff joints, and difficulty in moving due to arthritis should think about scheduling a whole-body massage session once every week.

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