“When you look at the literature, there has been a number of studies that have looked at massage for neck pain or lower back pain, and many of those patients may have had osteoarthritis, but this was the first study that specifically targeted patients with osteoarthritis and in this case osteoarthritis in the knee,” says Dr. Perlman, the study author.
68 patients were studied. Half got massage, half didn'’t. “After the eight weeks of massage, patients had significantly improved from their base line and compared to the wait list control,” says Dr. Perlman. And even after the massage therapy was done. Two months later, the benefits persisted. Part of the benefit may come from attracting more blood to the knee, or it may make arthritic knees limber.
James Zazeski, a massage therapist at the Institute for Therapy of Massage, says, "Getting regular massage it actually loosens up a lot of the structure in the knee, they can walk much more freely, without pain, clients who are avid walkers, avid joggers, find that they can get back into what they love to do, so it really helps with their quality of life."
Dr. Perlman says this is not a replacement for conventional treatments, such as exercise and weight management, and even medication treatment, but it is another safe, and now proven to be effective treatment to help patients even further. Certainly, there are no medication side effects. "I think that a lot of people see massage therapy as a day at the spa, but this has helped me a lot and I am sure it would help others," says Patrick.