As part of the Study “Rheumatoid arthritis in upper limbs benefits from moderate pressure massage therapy,” conducted by Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine,participants were taught a self-massage protocol that proved helpful in reducing the pain associated with their arthritis.
The following self-massage is specific to the arm and shoulder:
- Stroking. Stroking from the wrist to the shoulder with moderate pressure, then from the shoulder back to the wrist three times. On the top of the hand, stroke from the wrist to the tips of the fingers and back to the wrist. Repeat on the underside of the arm.
- Milking. On the top of the arm, cup fingers with thumb on the underside, pulling the flesh between them and gradually moving down to wrist and back up to shoulder from the wrist. Again, use moderate pressure. Repeat on bottom of the arm.
- Friction. Make circular movements with four fingers on top of the arm, moving across the shoulder and down the arm and top of hand. Repeat same on underside of arm.
- Skin rolling. Similar to the milking, squeeze the arm between the fingers and the thumb, then crawl fingers across skin with moderate pressure, first on top of arm and then underside of the arm and top of shoulder.
It’s beneficial to get regular massages for arthritis pain management. Massage also helps one have better sleep. “Sleep disturbances are a real contributor to pain syndrome,” notes Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine.“It’s sort of like a vicious cycle because you have sleep disturbance, then you have pain syndrome, and when you have pain syndrome, you can’t sleep.”