Osteoarthritis affects many people. Research by authoritative scientific organisations on using massage to cope with the condition has taken place over the years. Results show pain reduction for sufferers.

Osteoarthritis is a common, painful condition affecting joints. There have been several studies of massage treatment showing good results on pain reduction for sufferers. Massage is an effective treatment for osteoarthritis and can be used to manage and reduce pain.

Osteoarthritis Explained

Osteoarthritis is the most common type arthritis. It is a deteriorating condition that comes with age. Joints become stiff and swollen making movement painful for sufferers. Symptoms severity varies between small pains that come and go, to constant severe pain. It is caused by cartilage (tough tissue cushioning joints) being worn away over time. As cartilage replaces itself very slowly, you can see it will cause a greater issue as we age. For unknown reasons it seems to affect women more than men. Conditions that make you more prone to it include being diabetic and being overweight.

Research on Massage as a Treatment

Research has been conducted about using massage treatment as a method of managing the pain suffered. These studies start around the time massage was having a resurgence and being taken more seriously as a good complementary therapy.

Pearman A et al (2006) studied 86 adults with confirmed osteoarthritis. The results show that those receiving massage therapy pain and stiffness reduced significantly. Concluding that massage is effective as a treatment for osteoarthritis.

Ali A. et al (2012) from Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine studied 125 people with osteoarthritis on the knee. The report states after 8 weeks of 60 minutes of massage pain was reduced.

Artists impression of knee joint pain. Field T PhD et al (2014) studied those with arthritic neck pain at University of Miami School of Medicine. Sufferers were given weekly moderate pressure massages by a massage therapist and a regime of daily self-massage. The effects of extending the benefit of targeted massage were an increased range of movement and a reduction in pain during movement.


These studies all use accepted scientific methodology. That being there is always a comparison of the subject getting treatment against those who are not getting the same treatment. The results go a good way to prove that pain from osteoarthritis can be reduced and managed well with massage therapy. However, more studies need to be done. At Relaxing Massage York we will be looking into this further.


NHS (2016) Osteoarthritis [Online] Available from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/osteoarthritis/ (Accessed 21 July 2018)

Pearman A et al (2006) Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled trial.  [Online] Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17159021/ (Accessed 21 July 2018)

Ali A. et al (2012) Massage Therapy for Osteoarthritis of the Knee: A Randomized Dose-Finding Trial [Online] Available from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3275589/ (Accessed 20 July 2018)

Field T. PhD et al (2014) Neck arthritis pain is reduced and range of motion is increased by massage therapy [Online] Available from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1744388114000620?via%3Dihub (Accessed 20 July 2018)