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Rheumatoid Arthritis & Massage Therapy

Information for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients in Port Credit & South Mississauga

holding handsRheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease, presenting deteriorative properties of physiological systems as a faulty immune response. RA in its progressive stages will damage other structures and organs such as blood vessels, lungs and the pericardium. Once diagnosed, patients generally spend their lifetime using traditional and alternative therapies attempting to manage and decelerate the debilitation process (Werner, 2005). It affects the structural integrity and function of musculoskeletal joints and eventually the entire body (Osborn, 2005). The immune system mistakenly attacks the membranes and joint structures via the accumulation and stagnation of synovial fluids, initiating inflammation, pain and loss of function, called articular degeneration (Lowe, 2006).

Signs and symptoms are prominent morning stiffness and joint swelling, tenderness and pain. The distinctions associated with RA are the tendency to first affect the interphalangeal and metacarpophalangeal joints of the fingers/hands and toes/feet, as well as cause entrapment syndromes of nerves near affected joints such as the median nerve at the carpal tunnel. The development of subcutaneous nodules on protuberances of bones, bursae and tendon sheaths are also notable (Papadakis and McPhee, 2006).

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy has the ability to significantly affect systemic disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis because of its applicable methodology: the promotion of detoxification through vasodilation to assist in the removal of toxins, which can cause pain responses; the improvement of overall circulation by encouraging blood and lymph flow; the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system division by lowering blood pressure, heart rate and respiration rate inducing relaxation and stress reduction (Prekumar, 2004; O’Brien, n.d.). Gentle circular friction techniques have been used to help increase the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and assist in the removal of waste products surrounding the affected joints (Osborn, 2005). Massage therapy, when used in conjunction with other prescribed treatments, can have a positive systemic effect in the management of the symptoms and progression of an autoimmune disorder. When the joint is in an acute inflammatory stage, massage is contraindicated. However, when in remission, massage can effectively manage symptoms, prevent inflammation, and reduce joint damage (Lowe, 2006).

If you would like to find out more about how massage therapy can help, please feel free to email us or call us at (905) 891-2288.

Offering therapeutic massage therapy services to
Port Credit, Clarkson and South Mississauga