MASSAGE THERAPY REDUCES HAND ARTHRITIS PAIN AND INCREASES GRIP STRENGTH
Massage therapy is effective in reducing arthritic hand pain and increasing grip strength, according to a new study conducted by the Touch Research Institute (TRI) at the University of Miami School of Medicine.
The first of its kind on massage therapy and hand arthritis, the report examines the benefits of massage therapy in reducing joint tenderness and improving joint and functional ability. “While massage therapy has decreased pain in several pain syndromes including fibromyalgia, lower back pain and migraine, this is the first report of pain reduction in hand arthritis following massage therapy,” said Dr. Tiffany Field, TRI director. “Up to now, many other interventions to alleviate hand pain have been tried—medications, physical therapy and various forms of exercise. The results of this study are very encouraging for the application of massage therapy as a complementary alternative treatment for hand arthritis.”
In the study, 22 adults ranging in age from 20 to 65 with wrist/hand arthritis were randomly assigned to a massage therapy or a standard treatment control group. The massage therapy group received massage on the affected wrist/hand once a week for a four-week period. The standard treatment control group did not receive massage therapy during the study.
The massage therapy group had lower anxiety and depressed mood scores after the first and last sessions, and by the end of the study reported less pain and greater grip strength as compared to the standard treatment control group, which did not experience improvement on these measures.
The TRI, established in 1992, studies touch in relation to the promotion of health and the treatment of disease. Field has conducted more than 100 studies on the medical benefits of massage therapy over the last 30 years. “Put massage in the same category with proper diet and exercise as something that helps maintain essential health,” said Field.
"Written by Rev. Dr. Richard Browne