Massage Envy, a massage and spa service provider, in conjunction with the Touch Research Institute of the University of Miami Medical School, just released the results of a new study, which found that that moderate pressure massage therapy decreases pain for rheumatoid arthritis patients.
The study, which was published in the 2013 19 edition of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice Journal, concluded that rheumatoid arthritis patients experienced greater grip strength and range of motion in their wrists and upper joints after one month of moderate pressure massage therapy.
“Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that causes joints to become swollen, tender and stiff. While there is no cure to date, we do know now that moderate pressure massage therapy can help relieve pain and improve the quality of life for patients,” said C.G. Funk, vice president of industry relations and product development for Massage Envy. “The findings will be utilized to better educate our therapists, members, guests and the public on how to best incorporate massage into an overall wellness plan.”
Led by Tiffany Field, Ph.D., of the Touch Research Institute, the study examined the effects of moderate pressure versus light pressure massage therapy on 42 adults with rheumatoid arthritis in the upper limbs. The adults were randomly assigned to a moderate pressure or a light pressure massage therapy group. A therapist massaged the affected arm and shoulder once a week for a four-week period and also taught the participant self-massage to be done once daily. By the end of the one-month period, results of the study demonstrated the moderate pressure massage group experienced less pain, increased grip strength, increased wrist flexion, increased elbow flexion and increased shoulder abduction. The study also found that participants in both groups experienced a reduction in depressed mood and anxiety.
“As patients with rheumatoid arthritis work with their doctors to determine the best treatment option, we recommend discussing routine massage therapy given the positive effects found in our study,” said Field. “In addition to physical activity, such as yoga, moderate pressure massage therapy along with self-massage techniques can help manage the pain and stress that occurs from various forms of arthritis.”
Over the last eight years, Massage Envy has donated more than $150,000 to support research related to the benefits of massage therapy. Today, there are more than 865 Massage Envy locations. The company has created 21,000 new massage therapists positions since 2002 and plans to add 1,500 new positions annually through 2018.