Sports Massage Therapy

Is Massage Good For Arthritis?

Breeze Academy October 24, 2023
Person with arthritis holding painful hands

Arthritis affects around 10 million people in the UK. Unfortunately, there is no cure. However, the NHS recommends a number of treatments from simple lifestyle changes through to surgery for more advanced cases. But, what about massage? Is massage good for arthritis?

Massage is good for relieving the symptoms of arthritis as it promotes healthy circulation through arthritic joints. Regular massage can make daily life easier for those suffering from arthritis, helping to relieve pain, reduce swelling and increase range of motion.

Read on to learn more about how massage can benefit the symptoms of arthritis. 

Can Massage Be Good For Arthritis? 

Massage can be an ideal solution for treating arthritis and its symptoms. According to studies, some types of massage, such as deep tissue massage and sports massage, can promote relaxation, improve quality of life and allow individuals to feel more confident in their daily tasks. It is even thought that massage may be able to promote the recovery of muscles and joints, which would be highly beneficial to those suffering from arthritis.

Sports massage in particular can benefit those suffering from arthritis as it targets a specific area of the body to promote recovery, opposed to deep tissue massage which covers the whole body. Sports massage can increase the range of motion and flexibility, which is ideal for those suffering from arthritis, as movement is usually reduced due to joint stiffness. 

Benefits Of Massage For Arthritis 

Arthritis is a chronic pain condition that many people suffer from. Thankfully, massage therapy holds a whole host of benefits for people with arthritis:

Reduce Swelling 

Swelling of the joints is a common symptom of arthritis. Both sports and deep tissue massage can help reduce swelling by promoting blood flow into the muscles and joints. This is important as it can promote mobility and prevent stiffness, which prevents individuals from performing their daily activities. 

Improve Circulation 

As massage promotes the blood flow into the muscles, this improves the circulation of blood into the joints. This benefits those suffering from arthritis by encouraging the healing of damaged joints. Adequate circulation is imperative for every individual, as it sustains the proper function of all bodily organs and ensure the vitality of the cardiovascular system 

Boost Mood 

Massage promotes the release of serotonin and boosts mood. This is important for those suffering from arthritis, as joint pain can make daily life challenging. Increasing a person’s mood can positively impact their day, improve their sleep quality, and improve their overall well-being.

Pain Relief

A key reason to get a deep tissue massage is to reduce the pain from chronic illnesses, injuries and medical conditions. Although there is a difference between deep tissue and sports massage, both can benefit those suffering from arthritis. Studies have shown that massage is an effective method of pain relief for people living with arthritis and can decrease the amount of medication they take. 

Side Effects of Massage 

Although massage provides many benefits, there are some potential side effects to be aware of, especially for those that exhibit pain and discomfort in their everyday life.  That being said, these side effects are completely normal, typically mild in nature and will usually resolve themselves within a couple of days.


Soreness is a very common side effect when having a deep tissue or sports massage. This is due to the pressure applied to the body to relieve tension. Individuals might feel particularly sore if they have arthritis because of the joint stress. People may also experience headaches due to the unfamiliar position during the massage. 

If soreness after a massage is bothering you and you're looking for ways to relieve your pain, read more in our blog, Why Does Sports Massage Hurt So Much?


As deep tissue massage encourages relaxation and the release of endorphins, naturally, fatigue may be experienced after a session. We discuss this topic in depth in our recent blog

Final Thoughts 

Deep tissue or sports massage is an effective solution for those suffering from arthritis. Studies show that massage is effective in reducing the symptoms of arthritis, including pain, swelling and reduced range of motion. Is it not a cure, but it may offer relief. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of massage, we offer a range of Sports Massage Training courses. Tailored and delivered by expert clinicians, our courses offer everything you need to safely and effectively provide massage to your clients. If you’re entirely new to massage, take a look at our level 3 course. For those more experienced, our level 4 course may be more suitable. 


What Is Arthritis? 

Arthritis is a common condition that causes pain and inflammation in a joint. Arthritis affects people of all ages, including children. There are two types of arthritis: Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis. 

How Long Do The Effects Of Massage Last? 

The effects of massage, particularly sports massage, can last anywhere from a few days to a month. This is ideal for those suffering from arthritis as it can help to improve an individual's quality of life. With frequent sessions, the effects will last longer. For more information on this, check out our in depth blog.

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