Bone Health and Massage Therapy

Joel Ackerman, RMT

We often think of massage therapy to treat muscular aches, knots, and for relaxation, and rightly so. By definition, massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues in the body, which mean muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. Is there a place for massage therapy in the treatment of bone conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis? The answer is yes!

The body is quite remarkable in its ability to protect itself. When arthritis or other conditions cause pain in a particular body part, the fascia and muscles surrounding that area want to protect it, so they do the only thing they know how…they get tight! Although their intentions are noble, as the tissues surrounding an affected joint get tight, they usually add to the discomfort instead of relieving it. Increased tone in the muscles leads to trigger points (knots), fascial restrictions, and stiffness. This is where massage therapy plays an effective role. By treating the muscles and connective tissue around the affected joint, a lot of the discomfort can be relieved. Reducing tone in the muscles, releasing fascial restrictions, and gentle stretching will all contribute to reducing pain and increasing range of motion, so the person can carry on with their normal daily activities. Massage therapy is an important complementary treatment for all bone-related conditions.