Everybody loves a good massage. Those of us suffering from arthritis perhaps more so than most, as the relieving of tension and pain in the body can do wonders for joint pain and inflammation. A good massage can leave us feeling wonderful for days or even weeks afterward.
Finding the right place to go can be a challenge, but that’s where the internet comes in handy. Do some research online (Google is a great place to start) to locate appropriate massage centers in your area. Most will have a website listing the types of massage offered, price points, and any information that is necessary to know beforehand. If you live in a major metropolitan area, you may have the benefit of a nearby massage school where students often perform massages at a discounted rate, saving you money while allowing the student to perfect his or her craft.
Let’s start by looking at two eastern massage practices, beginning with Shiatsu. This technique is, if you couldn’t guess by the name, Japanese. It has been practiced in the United States widely, with Shiatsu therapists pinpointing exact points on the body and making repeated pressure strokes with their hands, both fingers and palms. It’s all about qi, the healthy energy that is present within the body.
Those wishing to have a little extra Shiatsu power towards their arthritis pain can purchase specific pillows or other items to use at home.
Next, we’ll move on to Thai massage. Any who’ve spent time in this incredible country have likely experienced a Thai massage, as they are widely available in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other areas throughout the country. The body is a full player in Thai massage, moving into different positions throughout, with pressure being applied to different parts of the body at different times. One of the biggest benefits for arthritis here lies in the full-body relaxation effect, as the stretching and pressure applied to the body work out kinks and can improve blood flow.
It’s thought that reflexology is great for relieving pain and stress, a major factor behind inflammation. Reflexology also benefits the central nervous system, helping to keep the entire body healthier. Research has shown that there is a strong relationship between the skin and the internal organs, and that the whole nervous system adjusts to a stimulus.
Feet, hands, and ears are prioritized here, but the impact reaches the entire body including areas of inflammation. Tension levels are reduced throughout the body, producing a calming and relaxing result. For those of us with arthritis pain, reflexology helps keep the entire body calmer and under less general tension, allowing joints to relax.
Here the patient receives continuous working of the muscles and tissues throughout the body, directly addressing areas of tightness and inflammation. Blood flow improves as tissues relax and muscles become less stressed. It’s not uncommon for lotions and ointments to be used in Swedish massage. They soak into the skin and along with the pressure from the massage itself, help to reduce the stress on muscles and tight areas throughout the body. Here are the basic strokes that you will likely encounter during your Swedish massage:
- Effleurage – working the hands across the skin, like in a common household massage
- Petrissage – concentrating on the muscles by working them repeatedly until tension is relieved,
- Tapotement – consistent finger or hand tapping
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point applies pressure or vibration into myofascial trigger points throughout the body, relieving pain and tension in that specific area. Trigger point therapy that includes injections into the trigger points should only be performed in a clinical setting, such as a doctor’s office, or physical therapy or chiropractic office. The general goal here is to relieve pressure where the patient feels knots or tension, which can include areas of or around inflammation points. This type of massage can offer immense benefit for chronic musculoskeletal pain symptoms, as tripper point massage targets exact areas where the patient desires the focus.
Adding massages into your routine
Depending on the level of arthritis pain you are feeling, one or more of the best massages for arthritis may need to become a regular part of your treatment. Speak with your doctor to get recommendations on how long to go between massages and which ones may be the most productive for relieving your arthritis pain.
A big plus here is that many vacation spots and hotels offer excellent massage services. As a result, being away from home doesn’t mean you have to be away from feeling great! When combined with a strong Omega-3 supplement such as GLX3 and a healthy lifestyle, the best massages for arthritis can help to relieve your joint pain and inflammation and get you back to doing the activities that you love!
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