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Effect of Massage Therapy on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Massage therapy can ease the symptoms that occur with inflammation. It also promotes blood circulation, flexibility and mobility. Manipulating muscles that support the arthritic joints without working on the inflamed areas can promote pain relief. Massage is never attempted over an inflamed joint and is not recommended in acute arthritis because it may worsen the inflammation.
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Massage is generally safe. 1 However, it can sometimes exacerbate pain temporarily, even when properly performed. In addition, if massage is performed too forcefully on fragile people, bone fractures and other internal injuries are possible. However, licensed massage therapists have been trained in ways to avoid causing these problems. Machines designed to perform elements of massage may be less safe. 2
- Ernst E. The safety of massage therapy. Rheumatology (Oxford). 42(9):1101-6.
- Eliott MA, Taylor LP. Shiatsu sympathectomy: ICA dissection associated with a shiatsu massager. Neurology. 2002;58:1302-1304.
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