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  • Valerie Smith, APRN

The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Individuals with Rheumatoid Arthritis




Managing rheumatoid arthritis looks different for every individual.


Not all patients respond to the same types of treatment, which is why our team at Paducah Rheumatology formulates personalized treatment plans.


Our treatment plans utilize a long list of methods, options, and resources that are designed to minimize and reduce the life-interrupting symptoms that come with a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.


And on that list is massage therapy!


Have you considered incorporating massage therapy into your treatment plan? Let’s discuss why massage therapy could be beneficial for you.


What is Massage Therapy?


It is important to not confuse massage therapy with your everyday massage at a spa. Massage therapy is a medical treatment that is designed to target a specific condition, ailment, or symptom.


Similar to physical or occupational therapy, massage therapy requires a formal evaluation to determine a plan of care. Following an assessment, patients receive treatments based on their individual needs. Throughout the course of those treatments, reevaluations and reassessments take place to document improvements.


Although the occasional spa treatment might temporarily relieve rheumatoid arthritis pain, massage therapy performed by a licensed massage therapist is purposeful medical intervention meant to address the long-term health needs of a patient.


Types of Massage Therapy


Massage therapy is the manipulation of the body’s soft tissues, including muscles, ligaments, tendons, connective tissues, and skin. There are numerous kinds of massage therapy treatments, and each one utilizes unique techniques to target these specific parts of the body.


Your massage therapist might recommend one or more of the following:

  • Myofascial Release

  • Deep-Tissue Release

  • Swedish Massage

  • Hot Stone Massage

  • Trigger Point Massage

  • Craniosacral Massage

  • Lymphatic Drainage Massage

  • Reflexology


Because rheumatoid arthritis impacts every individual differently, the type of massage therapy that works best for one patient might not be the right match for another. That’s why working with a trained, professional massage therapist is critical in order to discover what helps (or aggravates) your personal symptoms.


Massage Therapy and Rheumatoid Arthritis


Why is massage therapy beneficial to those living with rheumatoid arthritis? And why might it be a valuable addition to your treatment plan?


Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to inflamed blood vessels, resulting in poor blood circulation and restricted blood flow. On the other hand, massage therapy:

  • Stimulates blood flow

  • Increases lymphatic circulation

  • Improves vascular function


Rheumatoid arthritis can limit joint movements, while massage therapy:

  • Treats muscle immobility

  • Relaxes contracted muscles

  • Relieves muscle tension


Rheumatoid arthritis can impair balance and flexibility, and massage therapy:

  • Stretches muscles fibers

  • Increases tissue elasticity

  • Stimulates the stretch reflex


Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to widespread pain, yet massage therapy:

  • Reduces nerve compression

  • Decreases pain

  • Releases endorphins


Is incorporating massage therapy into your rheumatoid arthritis treatment plan right for you?


Let’s chat and discuss potential options!


Here at Paducah Rheumatology, we understand that the needs of our patients vary, which is why we create individualized treatment plans for all our patients.


If you think you could benefit from massage therapy, we want to know.


Give us a call today at 270-408-6100. We also accept new patients with a physician’s referral.


We look forward to helping you formulate a treatment plan that will best serve YOU!






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