Massage Therapy for Arthritis
By Jeff Denny
There are over one hundred types of Arthritis disease known to modern science that afflict the human body. The manifests, symptoms, and conditions vary based on individual and type of Arthritis (i.e. Rheumatoid, TMJ, Algood-Schlatter, and Tendonitis). In terms of Western allopathic medicine there are roughly fifty phamaceutical product lines to treat Arthritis and Arthritic symptoms, all of which have their subsequent side-effect. A considerable number of people suffering from Arthritis today are turning to alternative therapies, specifically massage therapy, to alleviate the pain and discomforts associated with the condition.
Generally speaking Arthritis is an inflammation of joints in the body along with the surrounding tissues - a qualified physician or doctor should be consulted to determine if symptoms are Arthritic in nature. Often times massage therapy patients will attest to the fact that the simple touching of a therapist is comfort in itself.
Different massage therapists will offer dfferent approaches to the treatment of Arthiritis, and it is up to the client/patient to derermine which one works best of is right for them. For example, a reflexology Therapist deals expressly with the trigger points, bones, and joints of the hands wrist, feet, ankles, and head, so a person suffering from Rheumatiod Arthritis may benefit more from them than say a Swedish Masseuse who's main objective are to increase blood circulation and relieve muscle tension. There are many massage therapists who offer a variety of therapies and can combine treatments to suit the client's needs.
Ideally, an MT working on an Arthritis patient will treat the problem specific areas to directly reduce pain, discomfort, and inflammation and then proceed to treat the rest of the body. In the massage therapy outlook no one part of the body can be sequestered without taking into consideration the system as a whole. The conditions of Arthritic disease are resultant of myriad aberrant conditions in the body due to diet, lifestyle, environment, genetics, and accidental circumstance. To promote a healthier and happier body a massage therapist incorporates many body specific techniques (Tui Na, Shiatsu, Gua Sho,) to manually stimulate, with tools or the hands, the natural circulation of blood and nutrient exchange, elevate the activity of the endocrine of glanduler system, increased lymphathic drainage to eliminate toxins that collect in the body, balance and unblock the nervous system, and relieve tension in muscles and bones.
Massage therapy utilizes the human system's innate ability to heal any ailment through manual manipulation and the engenderment of the relaxtion response. Make no mistake though, a good massage therapist know his/her anatomy, but as for as the client is concerned all they must do is breath and let go. If there is one thing the client should carry away from the table, it is proper and conscientious diaphragmatic breathing. For Arthritis sufferers, an amount of stress or anxiety can exacerbate an already unpleasant physical situation. Proper breathing instills a calm and restores the rhythm and natural equilibrium to the body.
Elimination of toxins is also important for Arthritis patients. Toxins can accumulate and crystallize throughout the body in the tissue, blood stream, nervous system, and the joints. This creates congestion and virtual cesspools in the internal milieu that can manifest as symptoms of Arthritis. The body's primary way to eliminating waste is through the digestive tract, but if the colon is clogged the waste literally begins piling up. Massage therapy can break up toxic stagnation of the joints, muscles, and tissue, but without a direct line of exit through the intestinal tract and urinary system they will invariably settle again. Thai Massage, especially, is incredible invasive when it comes to promotion elimination and clearing of the abdominal channels in the body and offers an alternative for those people who are not comfortable with ingesting laxatives, administering self-enemnas, or having colonic treatments.
Arthritis patients receiving massage therapy should also inquire about different oil, herbs, and creams used for massage. Chamomile oil, menthol, and camphor have all been known to reduce pain. Some people also respond well to Aromatherapy Massages which incorporate essential oils such as lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, marjoram, olive, sweet almond, and jojoba oils in the session. The practice of using oils in massage is centuries old and worth looking in to.
Above all else massge therapy encourages Arthritis patients to develop a working view of their body rather than just seeing their condition as beyond their control or grasp. Massage therapy can be empowering and helpful to the patients whereas chemical treatments can sometimes do more harm than good. Massage therapy treatments can run anywhere from $30-100 per session depending on the experienced immediate results, though a commitment to a two to six week program is often necessary to determine the efficacy of massage therapy at the individuals level.