Massages can reduce tension and stress for anyone, not just people with RA. But for people with RA, massage can also help to reduce pain. Massage is considered an alternative therapy. Therefore, your insurance may not cover such services. This might not be as big of a deal if you only want to get a massage every once in a while, but could become prohibitively expensive if you want to do it more often.
I’ve had one massage in my whole life, and that was because I was a bridesmaid in one of my friend’s weddings, and one of the bridesmaids’ gifts was a gift card to Massage Envy.
You might wonder, if you’ve never had a massage before, as I did, about whether or not the massage will actually cause more pain. But if the person doing the massage applies light to moderate pressure – and if you tell them that you have pain in various areas due to arthritis – it should not cause more pain. And this is important. Usually, most massage places will give you a sheet to fill out about any conditions you may have.
If you go to a place that doesn’t have this (or even if it does), you should make sure that you tell the person doing the massage that you have arthritis. You should also tell them where you have pain, and if there are any areas that they should avoid, specifically any joints that may be flaring. If you are in a full-blown flare, you may want to reschedule your massage for a time when you have less widespread pain.
If, while getting the massage, something really hurts you, you should speak up and tell the person doing the massage. The goal is to make you feel better, so don’t worry about making the person feel bad. You want to get the most out of your massage experience, and you won’t if you are uncomfortable.
There are various types of massage, some of which can be too strong or put stress on and impact damaged joints. You should talk to your doctor before getting a massage to see if it is safe for you, and if there is anything you should avoid or look out for.
I mentioned Massage Envy earlier as the place that I have gone to get a massage. As it turns out, and I didn’t know this when I went there, The Arthritis Foundation and Massage Envy have partnered to raise money for arthritis research with a program called Healing Hands.
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