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Question: Have you ever used deep tissue to break adhesions for a client with rheumatoid arthritis?

Asked by Oakynleaf 5 years ago

18 answers

A local Rheumatologist has encouraged RA clients to seek deep tissue for the purpose of breaking adhesions over and over until the body stops repairing.

Therapeutic Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release Therapy, Deep Tissue Massage, Swedish Massage

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the-chattanoogan-spa 5 years ago

I have not but I can not find any evidence showing that it would have a negative effect. I would think it would help ease the symptoms by increasing circulation.

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

Thank you for looking at research. I have been looking at research for over a year now and have yet to find anything saying deep tissue could bring on a systemic inflammatory response. Obviously a local response will develop depending on what the client wants to bear. (breaking adhesions can be extremely painful. i know of PT's who break frozen shoulder adhesions without batting an eye). If I work on the rotator cuff inflammation will begin within two minutes, if it does at all, (sometimes it does not) but the response will remain localized. I have some indirect communication with a RA medically retired Cardiologist living in Chicago who gets deep tissue work twice a week and one weekly session of Swedish. At this time I have ceased deep tissue efforts with RA, (due to client 's blood pressure issues), but I really want to consult with LMT's who are working with RA clients. If you know of anyone doing this work please let me know. Thank you so much for your considered, pointed, and non-teaching response.

Other answers (17)

BrendaLouise 5 years ago

Does this Rheumatologist believe adhesions may be causing the immune response, therefore removing the adhesions would relieve the RA? I never found a theory like that before...interesting.
I have done deep tissue on a client or 2 with RA in the past. If the client can take the pressure while keeping their muscles relaxed and they don't have the contraindications of deep tissue, I am happy to help work their problem areas. Unfortunately, none of my "regulars" suffer from this disease, so I don't have the post-massage experiences.
I have RA myself and have multitudes of trigger points, adhesions, etc...and, of course, I enjoy massage and deep work at times, but most of the time it is too painful for me to let someone fully work out the adhesions despite the relief I feel afterward. Unfortunately, I have not been receiving massage nearly as often as I should lately, but I have had regular deep work done in the past. I hadn't noticed a difference in my RA symptoms during that time, but my symptoms are very mild and the time frame is too short to really evaluate the results.

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

Thank you for responding. Your response is what I am looking for. I am slowly coming to a conviction that deep work for RA sufferers is something that needs a lot of rethinking. I have been told there is a long-term study being done between Mayo, Cleveland, and Vanderbilt Clinics where deep massage is one part of the treatments being looked at. So far, I have been unable to get anyone at those clincis to talk about this.

azizam21 5 years ago

Hi there, I am a remedial therapist and I use deep tissue massage for clients with RA unless they are in the acute stage of RA. In sub-acute stages deep tissue around the affected joints is beneficial as it breaks the adhesions and so reduces the tension and improves the mobility at the joints. After deep tissue is always good to use light flushing techniques to take the waste products away from the affected joints and improve the circulation. In the acute stages of RA the lymphatic drainage is appropriate. Usually the treatments are much shorter, do not overwork the area, always talk to the client. Also the recovery for the client may take up to 4-5 days. Also gentle stretching can be advised and mobility exercises for the affected joints. I hope this is helpful. Ivana

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

Are you on Facebook? If not please e-mail me at http://www.claudemassage.net.

MaryDornerStephens 5 years ago

The most successful treatments I have ever done are done with the consent and direction of medical doctors. I would want to talk with the patient's rheumatologist first. I do a very slow, least possible painful style of deep tissue. To top it off, I would do energetic balancing.

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

Have YOU ever used deep tissue to break adhesions for a client with RA?

GregJones 5 years ago

I think that when working with any client with an auto immune issue we need to stick with the adage of "Less is More". Limiting time and staying focused will limit the chances of overwhelming the immune system with a massive attack on itself. As with any "Deep Tissue " work, you should only be using the intensity fitting with the clients needs.

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

Have YOU ever used deep tissue to work with RA?

5 years ago

My husband has Rheumatoid arthritis with two replacement hip and two shoulders and has gained great heath and mobility from it. Highly recommended. for RA and OS

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

Please expand. Are you saying you highly recommend deep tissue for RA or surgery?

ChrisBoles 5 years ago

I would like to talk with the Rheumatologist first and see what he/she wants done. Then with doctor's permission, I would start with less invasive methods like Swedish and work into the Deep Tissue as much as the client tolorates it. I would also recommend not trying to "fix it" in one session, but to start easier and use several sessions to work it out.

rosered 5 years ago

Would these be adhesions from surgery such as joint replacement? Putting too much pressure on a replaced joint could cause dislocation so I would not suggest. Any masseur would need not only permission from their clients Rheumatology consultant but also careful guidance on any joint structure abnormalities, any ligament/muscular involvement etc. Massage is not usually advised during a flare up. As an RA sufferer myself I enjoy limited and light massage but could not tolerate deep tissue.

Sources: personal experience

FacesofHelena 5 years ago

In my opinion, it is best to use cross fiber friction and massage rather than deep tissue.

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

How many RA clients have you worked with?

kimsswedishmassage 5 years ago

The very few clients that I have with Rheumatoid arthritis just want just a nice relaxing massage rather than a massage that could help them in any with their arthritis. It is a shame for I know the benefits of massages but it is hard to convince my older clients of that, but I am glad they are making an effort and learning new things. I slowly introduce them to different massages and just take it slow and easy with them.

Answer Comments

Oakynleaf 5 years ago

I never try to convince a client of the benefits of massage. I describe the method and process of deep tissue, trigger point, or myofascial, but always finish with the disclaimer that what I do for them may or may not help. Thank you for your response. It's great to hear from someone who works with RA.

EBurrows 5 years ago

I have never had a client with Rheumatoid Arthritis. But I did have one with alot of joint problems due to a car accident from the past, in which case I did use deep tissue and some stretching.

andys 5 years ago

No only to help ease the pain of a 85 year old lady who said it helped her move the joints better when she had regular massage.

Pamperday 5 years ago

Frictions are not used over peripheral nerves, with acute injury, rheumatoid arthritis, infective arthritis, structures that are too deep to be reached...

Healer 5 years ago

I believe that Deep tissue breaks up adhesions and produce blood flow

Angelica 5 years ago

Back in the days of my training, we were told only to work when patient not in 'flare-up'. Doubtless with any RA patient, the approach would be multi-pronged, the main approach being what is consumed and how the body responds - results would be longer term. Personally, I wouldn't resort to localised swedish work, rather use a flat-handed lymphatic approach to improve general drainage and improve the surrounding musculature where possible. In my opinion it is important to not overstep the limitations of the patients pain threshold and this would be greatly aided by ensuring the patient is drinking enough water - many don't (RA a hot, dry condition). Check out adrenal response.

Reformednurse 5 years ago

I believe there is no one "right" answer here. Each person will respond to pain in a different way. Yes, breaking up adhesions after the inflammation is over is probably a good idea. But, autoimmune disease is related to stress, and if this kind of massage induces stress, then it would be counter productive. If deep tissue needed to be done, I would work on one small area at a time for a short period of time, then move on. I totally believe the patient has the power to move the energy causing the pain. Perhaps we should spend more time instructing our clients in how to do their own energy work. Reiki is one way, although I don't do it, but there are hundreds of techniques out there.

erivera68 5 years ago

The way I studied was to never massage an area that is painful or inflamed.Once the pain/inflammation is gone, do some light massage near the area to increase circulation.And I believe a cross section massage is better advise for breaking adhesions, specially on scar tissue.

Gudrun 5 years ago

My tip is to do Myofascial Relase followed with the application of Kinesio tape, which will break down the adhesions nicely and will enhance the circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system.

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