Massage for Osteoarthritis

Massage for Osteoarthritis

If you’re enjoying a more robust client base these days and wondering why, it could be that many of your older patients are throwing away their prescription medications in favor of massage. A recent study, building on previous research funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), determined that a 60-minute Swedish massage given by a licensed therapist helps relieve the symptoms of osteoporosis, a disease that affects near 10 percent of all Americans.

Scientists tracked the health of 125 osteoarthritis patients who received either no treatments or a variety of them ranging from 30 minutes once a week to twice weekly for an hour for eight weeks, over 24 weeks. Patients in the groups that received 60-minute massages either once or twice a week enjoyed the most benefits. But the optimal frequency of massage therapy that best treated pain intensity was the weekly 60-minute Swedish massage.

Benefits of massage for osteoarthritis

Participants in the study reported:

Interestingly, researchers were so confident about their findings and the “promising potential” of massage therapy to treat osteoarthritis that they recommended the weekly, 1-hour massage as a standard dose for future studies.

Compared to taking common drugs for osteoarthritis like Ibuprofen or Celebrex, a weekly massage is far safer and provides a world of benefits – both physically and mentally – over the long term.

Suggestions for your practice

1. Reach out to clients who are seeking safer, more complementary alternatives to existing health problems that don’t involve taking prescription pain medication.

2. Help clients understand what is most cost-effective for them in the long term: a Swedish massage or costly pain medication that may ultimately hurt them.



PLoS One

Melissa Wood, ND