Book health & wellness appointments instantly


Massage therapy can help to decrease pain and muscle aches, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall wellness and relaxation.

Can massage or acupuncture be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in the hands?

David Sheltren (Santee, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
1 user found this answer helpful
The aim of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is to reduce inflammation in the joints, relieve pain, prevent or slow joint damage, reduce disability and provide support to help you live as active a life as possible. There is good evidence that early treatment and support can reduce joint damage and limit the impact of rheumatoid arthritis. Lifestyle changes, drug and non-drug treatments and surgery can all help reduce the negative effects of rheumatoid arthritis. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis try complementary therapies.They include massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, chiropractic, hydrotherapy, electrotherapy and nutritional supplements including glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin and fish oil. Find Out More Here:
Deborah Gilmore (Golden, CO) on Mar 27, 2012
Jacklin Arastouzadeh (Beverly Hills, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Yes. You need acupuncture and herbs and massage.
Teri Lange (Cairo, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
Therapeutic massage employing Swedish, myofascial release techniques, friction and compression can be used to treat RA in the hands. Relief may be achieved after three weekly one-hour sessions. Aside from pain relief, dexterity may increase and stiffness decrease. Dilation of blood vessels from massage increases the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the site. Massage will also increase lymph flow, which helps to clear the body of harmful metabolic waste products, foreign material and cell debris.
Viktoras Jeriomenko (New York, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
Combining massage with mobilization technique (manipulation of the joints in order to improve the range of motion) will yield the best results. The most noticeable difference will be apparent after the first session, and after that the improvement will be more gradual.
Jacqueline Cole-Wright (Lehigh Acres, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
I have no experience using acupuncture. I have used aromatherapy massage (the use of essential oils in massage) with people suffering from arthritis. The massage is key in improving the circulation.
Sherry Glover (Austin, TX) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture has been used for centuries for such conditions. It is easiest for the massage therapist if you are not experiencing a flare-up of the arthritis, but with an experienced massage therapist relief can be had even during a flare-up.
Matthew Enright (Davie, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic type of arthritis. Early symptoms of RA include fatigue, joint pain, and stiffness. As it progresses, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may feel like the flu, with achiness, muscle aches and loss of appetite. The causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unknown, although there may be a genetic component. Early and effective rheumatoid arthritis treatment can improve the prognosis and may help prevent joint and bone destruction associated with RA. Arthritis is a general term that means inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of chronic arthritis that typically occurs in joints on both sides of the body (such as hands, wrists, or knees). This symmetry helps distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from other types of arthritis. In addition to affecting the joints, rheumatoid arthritis may occasionally affect the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, or nerves. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis include: Ã'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢'Ã'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢ Joint pain and swelling Ã'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢'Ã'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢ Stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods Ã'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢'Ã'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢ Fatigue RA affects everyone differently. For some, joint symptoms develop gradually over several years. For others, rheumatoid arthritis may progress rapidly and while other people may have rheumatoid arthritis for a limited period of time and then enter a period of remission. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1% of the U.S. population. While it is two to three times more common in females than in males, males tend to be more severely affected when they get it. It usually occurs in middle age, however, even young children and the elderly also can develop rheumatoid arthritis. The exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic, environmental and hormonal factors. With RA, something seems to trigger the immune system to attack the joints and sometimes other organs. There are theories that suggest that a virus or bacteria may alter the immune system, causing it to attack the joints. Other theories suggest that smoking may lead to the development of rheumatoid arthritis. Once the immune system is triggered, immune cells migrate from the blood into the joints and joint-lining tissue, called synovium. In the synovium, the immune cells produce inflammatory substances. The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint cause irritation, wearing down of cartilage (cushioning material at the end of bones), and swelling and inflammation of the joint lining. Inflammation of the joint lining stimulates it to produce excessive joint fluid within the joint. As the cartilage wears down, the space between the bones narrows and if the condition worsens, the bones could rub against each other. As the joint lining expands, it may erode, or invade into, the adjacent bone, resulting in bone damage that is referred to as erosions. All of these factors cause the joint to become very painful, swollen, and warm to the touch. There are many different ways to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Treatments include medications, rest and exercise, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy and surgery to correct damage to the joint. The type of treatment will depend on several factors including the person's age, overall health, medical history, and severity of the arthritis. Recent studies into the physiological reactions of the body to acupuncture have provided some scientific insight into how acupuncture affects pain. The findings focused on the ability of acupuncture to stimulate the production of endorphins, opiate-like substances produced in the brain whose function is to control pain in the body. Endorphins have been found to be nearly 1,000 times stronger than morphine. Thus, scientific validation as to how acupuncture controls pain. Along with the release of endorphins, another substance called cortisol is simultaneously released. Cortisol is the body's own natural anti-inflammatory drug. Controlling pain and reducing inflammation help to promote healing; this explains why acupuncture works so well for joint and structural disorders. It is also important to understand the circumstances surrounding the onset of the pain. Was there an accident or incident, did the pain gradually develop over a course of time or during a certain period of life, is the pain better or worse during a particular time of day? The characteristics of pain give important information about what is causing the body to send this signal. Once noticed, it is important to address the underlying problem not just turn down the discomfort, this theory is often referred to as treating the root vs. the branch or the core vs. the symptom. Otherwise the body will continue to send out other warning signals until the core problem is corrected. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), nothing within the human body can function independently. Pain is the bodyÃ'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢''s warning signal or alarm. It tells you something is wrong. If you ignore your bodyÃ'''''''Ã''''''Ã'''''Ã''''Ã'''Ã''Ã'¢''s alarm, similarly to the fire alarm in your house, severe problems can form soon.
Lonnie Neer (Bend, OR) on Mar 27, 2012
Chinese Medicine can help with your arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually a warm to hot disease, where osteoarthritis is generally a colder disease. Both condition cause stagnation of blood and energy wherever the condition is active. You could use Chinese herbal formulas for the underlying imbalance and acupuncture to balance energy stagnation for the painful obstruction. Remember it takes time to walk back down a road, so do what helps and follow good advice. For rheumatoid arthritis, diet is another key factor.
Lara Aitken (Orlando, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture and massage can help. Massage will help with the circulation and acupuncture can help with the other symptoms.
Daniel Haun (Oceanside, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Certainly the massage could be useful as it might give relief to the muscles and tendons. But I am a big fan of how acupuncture and auricular medicine (ear acupuncture) can effectively bring down inflammation in an area - including joints. I always recommend a course of 5 to 15 treatments to get the desired effects. I also recommend incorporating Chinese Herbs as they can work synergistically with the acupuncture.
Dominique Charleston (Seabrook, MD) on Mar 27, 2012
Yes, acupuncture and massage can be used to help rheumatoid arthritis.
Ta-Li Chang (La Habra, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Do both at the same time. Massage can will help increase circulation to the hands and fingers. Acupuncture is a great therapy to reduce pain and decrease inflammation. Acupuncture can be use to help harmonize your body to decrease inflammation and pain in the hands.
Daniel Cook (Woodinville, WA) on Mar 27, 2012
Massage is unlikely to reduce the arthritis itself, but you may feel less discomfort after a general massage. Rheumatoid arthritis is often (though not always) responsive to acupuncture and/or Chinese herbal medicine, in my experience. Be prepared for the recovery to take some time, however. Best of luck, Daniel T. Cook, EAMP, LMP
Rosemary Rickard (Tampa, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
Massage therapy and acupuncture can provide some pain relief for rheumatoid arthritis.
Richard Ki (Orange, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture treatment can relieve pain from arthritis. The modern scientific explanation is that needling the acupuncture points stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemicals either change the experience of pain, or trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones which influence the body's internal regulating system. While acupuncture is often associated with pain control, in the hands of a well-trained practitioner it has much broader applications. Acupuncture can be effective as the only treatment used, or as the support or adjunct to other medical treatment forms in many medical and surgical disorders. The World Health Organization(WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of medical problems, including neurological and muscular disorders: headaches, facial tics, neck pain, rib neuritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, various forms of tendinitis, low back pain, sciatica, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Rob Hundley (Broomfield, CO) on Mar 27, 2012
Massage can be used for RA as long as it is not flaring up. The therapist should have experience in treating rheumatoid arthritis, as the pressure needs to be very light.
Steve Snyder (Portland, OR) on Mar 27, 2012
Yes, massage and acupuncture can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture helps blood flow to the area, and so does massage. Acupuncture also helps to lessen pain by releasing endorphins from the brain. I would also recommend Chinese herbs between sessions.
Chantal Davis (San Diego, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Chinese Medicine and, specifically, acupuncture has been shown to be a safe and effective alternative approach for treating rheumatoid arthritis.
Christine Gross (Grand Rapids, MI) on Mar 27, 2012
Both can help, as well as reflexology. Fish oil can be helpful and so can exercise hand balls.
Josee Knecht (Memphis, TN) on Mar 27, 2012
Massage can't be used to "treat" R.A., but it can be one of many therapies that can help minimize the symptoms of R.A. R.A. is an autoimmune disease that attacks joints and attached structures. Steroid therapy, other meds and exercise are essential to help treat R.A. I work with many clients who have R.A. and they feel weekly massages helps lessen the pain, stiffness and swelling associated with their R.A.
Cheryl Mooney (Phoenix, AZ) on Mar 27, 2012
Check this URL and it will give you enough information to decide if massage will work for you.
Nadia Loury (Glenolden, PA) on Mar 27, 2012
Swedish massage would be helpful in relieving tension in the joints, as long as there is no flare-up at the time.
Brian Wah (Herndon, VA) on Mar 27, 2012
Shiastu (acupressure) massage can help in balancing the entire system, which would help to ease the pain.
Meg Richichi (New York, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture can have an incredible impact on rheumatoid arthritis. But a really good practitioner will move beyond the disease and treat the underlying cause(s). Most auto-immune disorders are related to the gut and 80% of our immune response comes through digestion. We are what we eat, assimilate and eliminate. When treating RA, I never separate the two. When someone has a genetic marker for an autoimmune disorder like RA, the real question to be asking is, What is metabolically triggering this genetic expression? A person does not wake up one day with RA; it's a cumulative response to systemic inflammation over time. When the gut becomes compromised, it circulates inflammatory agents throughout the body, which manifests in such symptoms as achy hands and knees. I am quite familiar with RA because some of my family has been diagnosed with it. Acupuncture coupled with an anti-inflammatory diet (and specific supplements) can radically change the outcome of rheumatoid arthritis.
Aram Akopyan (Glendale, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Traditional treatments from acupuncture and oriental massage techniques are integral in treating arthritic conditions. Here is a link where you can find additional information on how arthritis can benefit from acupuncture.
Wilton Valerio (New York, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture can be used to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is effective in reducing the swelling in the joints and helps reduce pain. Typically the acupuncture is performed on the hands, lower leg, feet and ears in order to affect the meridians traveling to the the hands. In conjunction to the acupuncture, electrical stimulation is added to increase the effectiveness of the acupuncture.
Adi Barad (Winnetka, IL) on Mar 27, 2012
Rheumatoid arthritis can be treated with a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbs and Western medication.
Sabrina Cornell Miller (Minneapolis, MN) on Mar 27, 2012
I would try acupuncture. I have treated several clients with great results. Massage depends on the stage of the rheumatoid arthritis. I also highly recommend herbal formulas, depending on the stage of the RA.
Simon Nelson (North Hollywood, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Herbal medicine, acupuncture and massage are helpful in your condition.
Michael Moy (Willowbrook, IL) on Mar 27, 2012
A combination of acupuncture and massage is the best to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Maria Baraybar Lee (Denver, CO) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture can be used to help with arthritis, but the patient also have to be willing to change her diet. Arthritis problems start in the gut. Both a strict diet and acupuncture are needed.
Fabio Botter (Christiansburg, VA) on Mar 27, 2012
I suggest Tui-na massage and soaking the hands in Chinese herbs liniment for two weeks.
Bharat Kalra (Wheaton, IL) on Mar 27, 2012
Opt for cold laser treatment, acupuncture and massage.
George Engelhard (Orlando, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
George Engelhard (Orlando, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
Jagdish Jindal (Houston, TX) on Mar 27, 2012
Light massage and joint manipulation is good for this kind of condition. Proper diet plays an important role as well.
Rogelio Medina (Arlington, TX) on Mar 27, 2012
Massage is contraindicated for rheumatoid arthritis during flare-ups. If RA is in remission, massage is indicated and can help increase joint mobility.
Nicole Scruggs (Detroit, MI) on Mar 27, 2012
Yes, massage can help with circulation and inflammation. See an herbalist to discuss diet and supplements.
Jennie Mison (Philadelphia, PA) on Jun 4, 2012
Actually, no. Rheumatoid arthritis is different from the more common osteoarthritis in many ways. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease. Massage could actually make the disease process worse during the inflammatory stages because the increase in circulation will also increase the circulation of hostile immunocytes. Acupuncture might be an alternative.
Amy Stark (Orlando, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
In my experience, Reiki is very effective in treating arthritis. Many of my clients experience no pain or discomfort for months after a treatment.
Norma Segovia (San Antonio, TX) on Mar 27, 2012
Massage can help with rheumatoid arthritis, but he client should communicate with the therapist on what pressure she can tolerate.
Judie Yim (New York, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
An aromatherapy-based massage using black pepper and finger oil has beeb shown to improve circulation. One can also use grated ginger poultices at home, especially during the winter. In Ayurvedic medicine, the ginger plant is try-doshic and can help both heat and chill the body. The massage will help flush the areas of inflammation overall. Focusing on the hands, in addition to the arms and chest, can greatly reduce the pain.
Sue Moore (, ) on Mar 27, 2012
Yes. Massage can give tremendous relief. The treatment includes trigger point therapy on the scapula and along the entire arm along with deep tissue massage on the muscles in between the muscle groups on the forearm. This is followed by hand reflexology. This mixture of techniques is what I have found to be the most effective.
Joseph DeBoo (Naperville, IL) on Mar 27, 2012
RA is idiopathic. In other words, there is no known cause for RA. However, I can tell you that massage therapy can aid in the relief of the pain and that acupuncture will aid in the release of the negative energy that exists in the area affected by RA.
Jason Bussell (Wilmette, IL) on Mar 27, 2012
In my experience, massage does not have a lasting impact on rheumatoid arthritis (RA). But acupuncture works very well for both types of arthritis and all types of autoimmune disorders. It can help moderate the immune response. In addition, acupuncture increases serum ACTH in the blood, which is a precursor of cortisol, the body's natural anti-inflammatory compound. The benefits of acupuncture last longer than the elevated blood levels, so there is more at work than just the ACTH. I have seen acupuncture help dozens of RA patients.
Amy Podhurst (Huntington Station, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture can help improve blood circulation to the hands. This brings nutrients to the area and removes toxins. Inflammation can be reduced as well. Another technique called moxibustion warms the hands and provides greater mobility to stiff joints.
Crystal Balboa (Desert Hot Springs, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
I have worked with rheumatoid arthritis patients for years. Massage should be avoided during periods of acute inflammation because massage treatment requires a lot of joint manipulation, since the joints are typically deformed. Acupuncture and acupressure can also help.
Melissa Curtis (Lake Wales, FL) on Mar 27, 2012
I am not an expert on acupuncture so I can neither recommend or discourage it. However, massage is very good for any type of arthritis.
Carin Piacente (Putnam Valley, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
They can both help with the pain.
Peter Proto (Meriden, CT) on Mar 27, 2012
Swedish massage will help the range of motion of the hand and fingers.
Mark Carlson (Costa Mesa, CA) on Mar 27, 2012
Yes to both. Also, drinking alkaline water works very well.
Vanessa McKay (Orangeburg, NY) on Mar 27, 2012
Acupuncture is commonly used to treat RA. It's most effective before the bones become deformed, but either way it will help with the pain. Acupuncture also regulates your immune system, which also helps with RA, since it's an autoimmune ailment. Massage could help as well.
Kexin Bao (Rosemead, CA) on Apr 5, 2012
Dear Friend: Thank you for your question. I am Dr. Kexin Bao, Licensed Acupuncturist in California. I have been practicing acupuncture both in China and United States for 36 years. I have the highest postgraduate medical degree in China and postdoctoral training at Medical University of South Carolina, USA. I was an acupuncture specialist & teacher in Medical University of S.C., USA, and a physician & professor at medical schools in both China & USA. I use acupuncture, herbal medicine and Chinese massage to treat medical problems, it include but not limited to following medical conditions: any types of pain, arthritis, sprain and trauma, paralysis, asthma, cough, allergies, dizziness, insomnia, psychological disorders, neurosis, impotence, female problems, bedwetting, gastrointestinal problems, etc. We also have weight control, smoking cessation and health maintenance programs. We Apply acupuncture therapy (using disposable needles) & traditional Chinese medical therapies, Oriental / Asian / American herbal medicine and Tui Na massage therapy. For your specific conditions you may call me to discuss, my phone number is (626)288-1199. Also, the following information might help you to contact me in various ways: my email is, , my fax number is (626)288-4199, and my mailing address is 2712 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770. Sincerely, Kexin Bao, L.Ac., Ph.D. Attached is my flyer for your reference. ACADEMIC MEDICAL CENTER, INC. 2712 San Gabriel Blvd., Rosemead, CA 91770 Tel.: (626) 288-1199 Fax: (626) 288-4199 ACUPUNCTURE, HERBAL MEDICINE & THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE SERVICES COMBINATION OF ACUPUNCTURE/HERBAL AND AMERICAN ALTERNATIVE MEDICINES (To better serve you, we offer the expertise of both an American and Chinese Health Professionals in 1 convenient location). Range of Symptoms with Best Results:  Any pain, arthritis, sprain and trauma, paralysis, asthma, cough, allergies, dizziness, insomnia, psychological disorders, neurosis, impotence, female problems, bedwetting, gastrointestinal problems, etc.  We also have weight control, stop smoking and health maintenance programs  We specialize in diseases of the elderly with treatments combining therapies from traditional Chinese medicine and alternative medicine Advanced Assessment & Comprehensive Treatment:  Dozens of years experience in combination of traditional Chinese medicine with modern medicine in hospitals  Apply acupuncture therapy (disposable needles) & traditional Chinese medical therapies, Oriental / Asian / American herbal medicine and Tui Na massage therapy, etc.; refer to medical doctors for west medicine therapy or treatment if patient needs  PPO and Some HMO medical insurance, workers' comp., auto injury are acceptable; Affordable payment plans Treating Acupuncturist: Kexin Bao, Ph.D., L.Ac.  Postdoctoral Training in Medical University of S.C., USA  Highest Postgraduate Medical Degree in China  Acupuncture Specialist & Teacher in Medical University of S.C., USA  Physician & Professor in Medical School in China & USA Medical consulting and herbal medicine ordering through telephone, fax and E-mail are available. If you would like to have our services or order our products, please e-mail to or call 1-626-288-1199.