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Massage therapy for Rheumatoid Arthritis pain relief

reumthoid-arthritisThere are a huge number of different conditions that are classified as an autoimmune disease, including, multiple sclerosis, diabetes type 1 and arthritis. Many people with this style of disease may need treatment for life. However, massage therapy, can be used alongside other treatments, ensuring that pain relief is provided.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in your joints. The main symptoms are joint pain and swelling. It’s the second most common form of arthritis in the UK. Many patients will have overlapping symptoms, which commonly affect the skin, blood vessels, and muscles.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects around 400,000 people in the UK.
It can affect adults at any age, but most commonly starts between the ages of 40 and 50. About three times as many women as men are affected.


Massage and Arthritis

Regular massage of muscles and joints, whether by a licensed therapist at a spa or by self-massage at home, can lead to a significant reduction in pain for people with arthritis, according to Tiffany Field, PhD, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine, who’s conducted a number of studies on the benefits of massage, including on people with arthritis. In Field’s research and other recent studies on the effects of massage for arthritis symptoms, regular use of the simple therapy led to improvements in pain, stiffness, range of motion, hand grip strength and overall function of the joints.

Living with rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis can be life-changing. You may need long-term treatment to control your symptoms and reduce joint damage.
Depending on how much pain and stiffness you feel and how much joint damage you have, you may have to adapt the way you carry out simple daily tasks. They can become difficult or take longer to complete.
Here are some things you can do to help keep the condition under control.

How Does Massage Work?

While some studies show that massage can reduce pain and anxiety for people with arthritis, how exactly does massage make these results happen?
Research has shown that massage can lower the body’s production of the stress hormone cortisol, and boost production of serotonin, which, in turn, can improve mood. Additionally, massage can lower production of the neurotransmitter substance P, often linked to pain, and improve sleep as a result.
The right pressure on the muscle knots is finally able to relax muscle from prolonged tension and reduce discomfort and unwanted tension around on joints and ligaments.


Researching the Effects of Massage Therapy in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis

Objective: This study considered the efficacy of causing positive systemic effects translating into sustained periods of symptomatic remission in the management of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for a recently diagnosed patient.

Results: At the third weekly session, the client reported experiencing no pain or discomfort. This period of non-flare up and absence of pain continued through the remainder of the study period, even with a longer 3 week duration between sessions at the end of the 10 weeks. The client also noted that no pain medication other than her weekly Methotrexate dosage was taken throughout the duration of the study and that she obtained a better quality of sleep and daily activity.

Full article here:


Helpful RA Communities:

RA Warrior:
RA Chicks:


The “give up moment”

A massage, doesn’t matter what specific technique, induces relaxation all through the body. Despite the obvious effect on the tight muscles, the key for a successful treatment is the attention and dedication of the massage therapist to his/her client.

200_sPeople book a massage for many different reasons, but a common denominator for all the diversified tensions and personalities is the need a calming, relaxing, touch.

In every successful massage there is indeed what I call a “give up moment”: when I feel that my client releases most of his/her tensions and does not react any more to my treatment, but kindly accept it.

Unfortunately not all the massages work in this way, as it can happen that the client is too tense for whatever reason, and does not stop to keep controlling the situation.
I say unfortunately, because in the “give up moment” the body drastically decreases the production of Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, and as a result the well-being of the clients is emphatically felt by the masseur… me! 🙂

This is what I call a win-win situation!

There are many reasons why cultivating a peaceful life is convenient for both the single person and the community. In fact, while a stressed person induces stress on the others, a calm person induces calm on his neighbours

Check this documentary about stress: how stress affect well-being.

Find here the whole series:

Bear in mind that our western culture, while it can teach people how to contain the stress, does not offer any real clue about how to cultivate a peaceful life. A massage can be of a great help in difficult moments or the balsam of a tense life, and it can be the trigger for starting a deeper research, but the way to a joyful life passes through a deeper capacity to be in touch with your body feelings day by day.

I personally found a very useful resource on Vipassana.
For more information:

Massage at the park

Enjoy a massage in a green place,
Benefit from the cleaning energy of the trees,
Relax with the vibration of music and birds singing.

Massage your body and mind with the sight of waving branches and leaves.




Massage and physical exercise treatments for elderly

Each stage of our life presents challenges and rewards. Youngsters have a lot of energy and a free mind, while elders has less energy and a lot of experience, but we all have a common necessity: support.

As massage therapists and health care assistants, we developed a personal approach to support the senior members of our community through a mix of massage and physical exercise.

One of the major problems of the latest stages of life is the limited mobility, that leads to different disadvantages, like diminished independence and a more vulnerable body. In fact, moving our limbs stimulates the lymph nodes, that work as pumps for our lymphatic vessels, that carry substances vital to the defence of the body as well as help in the removal of waste products.

Researchers believe massage, and touch generally, can strengthen the immune system by stimulating pressure receptors under the skin, which in turn reduces the stress hormone cortisol, the chief culprit in killing natural disease-fighting cells, said Tiffany Field, director of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami School of Medicine. Without touch, studies on monkeys have shown, there’s a rise in aggression.

But elderly people, who could use the immune-boosting benefits of touch the most, are getting it the least.


We provide a special dedicated service that helps maintain mobility and independence:

  • physical exercise helps keeping or recovering the muscles tone and mobility, leading to a more independence life;
  • massage increases a sense of well-being and human vicinity;
  • lymphatic system plays a vital role in the body by regulating the immune system, in fact when the lymphatic system becomes compromised in any way, lymphatic fluid builds up and stagnates causing the entire system to become toxic.

Lymphatic drainage massage:

  • clears blockages
  • eliminates metabolic wastes and toxins from the body
  • helps in the transport of nutrients to cells and
  • increases metabolic efficiency
  • It also has a very calming effect on the nervous system and helps relieve stress and tension
  • Helps reduce swelling
  • is particularly recommended for soft skins, thanks to it very soft application

Read more about Lymphatic Drainage Massage

If you are interested, reserve a free consultation.
This is a domiciliary service.

TEL: 07856100420
LOCATION: 24 Campdale Road, N7 0EB, London

Office chair massage

office-chair-massage-in-londonA workplace massage is a priceless experience for a work-related environment

  • it helps improve sense of personal well-being
  • it drastically lowers stress and risk of burnout
  • it brings the conversation amongst the colleagues in a more relaxed and trustful level
  • it stimulates a more brilliant productivity
  • it increases the sense of comfort with the own working desk.

What is an “office chair massage”?

Also called seated massage and on-site massage, chair massage is an oil free massage given while you are clothed and seated in a specially designed chair.
These comfortable chairs slope forward, giving access to many parts of you upper body.

We will treat neck and large muscles of your back, and cradle your head, torso and arms allowing you to totally relax.

A little longer time (5 minutes) will let us massage your scalp (head massage) and hands, facilitating a state of detachment and total relaxation.

Physiological benefits

Chair massage is an effective way to relieve neck and shoulder tension and back pain, and can also alleviate common problems such as headaches, and tension in the hands, wrists and forearms.

Treatments last usually 15 to 25 minutes.
We may incorporate a variety of techniques, facilitated stretching, compression, kneading and tapping.


For rates and appointments, contact us

TEL: 07856100420
LOCATION: 24 Campdale Road, N7 0EB, London

What is Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a massage technique that focuses on the deeper layers of body tissue. It aims to release the chronic patterns of tension in the body through slow and deeper strokes on the contracted areas, either following or going across the fibres of the muscles, tendons and fascia.

What is a muscle “knot”? Read this article

Deep tissue massage is used to release chronic muscle tension and help break up and eliminate scar tissue. This massage usually focuses on more specific areas and may cause slight soreness during or right after the massage. However, when the massage is done correctly the individual should feel a sense of a work out, but no lasting pain.



Deep tissue massage offers multiple benefits at different systems:

  • MUSCULAR SYSTEM – helps move blood in blood vessels and assists the calf in returning venous blood, especially in the lower extremities. May contributes to the improvement of sclerotic blood vessels.
  • SKIN – improves circulation to the skin, moisturises dry, clay skin, improves skin tone, helps reduce the build up of cellulite.
  • SKELETAL SYSTEM – improves joint range of motion, clears deposit and debris from old bone injuries, restores damaged ligaments and tendons, enhances effectiveness of more specific treatment (osteopath / chiropractic / physiotherapy etc.), and improves posture.
  • NERVOUS SYSTEM – releases trapped nerves in soft tissue, and congestion along nerve pathways.
  • LYMPHATIC SYSTEM – releases trapped lymphatic vessels.
  • RESPIRATORY SYSTEM – releases restrictions in breathing muscles, promotes postural improvement which reduces crowding of lungs, and removes congestion in lung and rib areas.



What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. This stimulates the lymphatic vessels that carry substances vital to the defence of the body as well as help in the removal of waste products.

What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage?

LymphaticSystem_FemaleThe benefits of lymphatic drainage are considerable and are particularly relevant in today’s environment where pollution, stress and deficient immune systems make many people susceptible to contagious disease and viral infections.

The lymphatic system plays a vital role in the body by regulating the immune system. When the lymphatic system becomes compromised in any way, lymphatic fluid builds up and stagnates causing the entire system to become toxic.

Lymphatic drainage clears blockages, eliminates metabolic wastes and toxins from the body, helps in the transport of nutrients to cells and increases metabolic efficiency, all adding to the reduction of excess fluid and can assist in weight reduction. It also has a very calming effect on the nervous system and helps relieve stress and tension.

Lymphatic drainage is also a very successful beauty treatment for the face, improving the appearance of the skin and reducing puffiness. It helps rejuvenate collagenfibers and slow the ageing process.

What type of condition can it benefit?

Lymphatic drainage is used to treat a wide rang of conditions such as:

  • Glandular fever, ME (Chronic Fatigue), Migraine, Sinus, Hay fever
  • Recurring infections (cold, flu, ear, chest)
  • Pre and postoperative cases (cosmetic surgery, cancer or where lymph nodes have been removed or the lymphatic system impaired in some way)
  • Toxic build-up, oedema and fluid retention (puffy ankles, legs, eyes, bloating)
  • Cellulite and excess weight
  • Constipation and other digestive disorders
  • Acne, Rosacea and other skin conditions, Scar tissue (old and new)
  • Stress, Anxiety, Tension

What is Swedish Massage

massageoldSwedish massage is the most common and best-known type of massage in the West. If you want deeper work and can tolerate more pressure, even momentary discomfort, to get relief from muscle pain, it’s better to book a deep tissue massage, which is another form of Swedish massage.

Swedish massage and other types of therapeutic massage are performed by trained, licensed massage therapists. A Swedish massage can be slow and gentle, or vigorous and bracing, depending on the therapist’s personal style and what he or she wants to achieve.

Swedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology. Most people get a 50 or 60-minute Swedish or deep tissue massage, but 75 or 90-minutes gives the therapist more time to work the muscle tissue and achieve results.

What Happens During A Swedish Massage

In all Swedish massage, the therapist lubricates the skin with massage oil and performs various massage strokes. These movements warm up the muscle tissue, releasing tension and gradually breaking up muscle “knots” or adhered tissues, called adhesions. Swedish massage promotes relaxation, among other health benefits.

Before the massage, the therapist asks you about any injuries or other conditions. Things you would want tell a therapist include areas of tightness or pain, allergies, and conditions like pregnancy. You can also tell them up front if you have a preference for light or firm pressure. It’s best not to get a massage if you are ill.

After the consultation, the therapist instructs you how to lie on the table — face up or face down, and underneath the sheet or towel — and then leaves the room. He or she will knock or ask if you are ready before entering.

The Nudity Factor

You can keep your underwear on, as the therapist uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on, a technique calleddraping.

Why It’s Called Swedish Massage

Per Henrik LingSwedish massage is based on the Western concepts of anatomy and physiology as opposed to energy work that is more common in Asian-style massage. Both Swedish massage and physical therapy were pioneered by a Swedish physiologist, Per Henrik Ling (1776-1839) at the University of Stockholm.

In the early 19th century he developed a system called “Medical Gymnastics” which included movements performed by a therapist. These became the known as “Swedish movements” in Europe and “the Swedish Movement Cure” when they came to the U.S. in 1858. Today it is simply known as Swedish massage.

What are muscle “knots” & trigger points

The phenomenon of muscle knots is not uncommon. Essentially, muscle knots are sections within the various muscles of the body that have constricted and create consistent pain with each individual. They are commonly termed “Myofascial Trigger Points“. While there is not currently a definitive medical explanation as to why muscle knots form, several theories are undergoing testing.muscle-exploded-view

The generally accepted answer to why muscle knots form is that something triggers a reaction where the muscle never relaxes. In effect, the muscle is always in a state where it appears to be actively rather than passively in use. This is unusual, since even with such activities as weight lifting, running, or any type of heavy lifting the muscle goes through a series of off and on cycles. The constant active condition of the muscle leads to muscle spasm, which it turns acts as the root cause the muscle knot.

Surgically removing a portion of muscle know has led to the discovery of the presence of unusual deposit of protein within the tissue. There is also a theory that excessive amount of connective tissue surrounding the muscle may also contribute to the development of muscle knots. However, very little research has been done on the matter of connective tissue, so most doctors do not recognize that as a contributing factor in the development of a myofascial trigger point.

The physiology of a trigger point

The part of a muscle-knots1-733x1024muscle fibre that actually does the contracting is a microscopic unit called a sarcomere. Contractions occurs in a sarcomere when its two parts come together and interlock like fingers. Millions of sarcomeres have to contract in your muscles to make even the smallest movement. A trigger point exists when over stimulated sarcomeres are chemically prevented from their interlocked state.

NORMAL FIBRE: is a muscle fibre in a normal resting state, neither stretched nor contracted. The distance between the short crossways (Z bands) within the fibre defines the length of the individual sarcomeres. The sarcomeres run lengthwise in the fibre, perpendicular to the Z bands.
CONTRACTION KNOT: is a knot in a muscle fibre consisting of a mass of sarcomeres in the state of maximum continuous contraction that characterises a trigger point. The bulbous appearance of the contraction knot indicated how that segment of the muscle fibre has drown up and become shorter and wider

→ Note the greater distance between the Z bands of muscle fibres that extends from the contraction knot to the muscle’s attachment: the muscle fibre is being stretched by tension within the contraction knot. These overstretched segments of muscle fibre are what cause shortness and tightness in a muscle.

Normally, when a muscle is working, its sarcomeres act like tiny pumps, contracting and relaxing to circulate blood through the capillaries that supply their metabolic needs. When sarcomeres in a trigger point hold their contraction, blood flow essentially stops in the immediate area.
The resulting oxygen starvation and accumulation of the waste products of metabolism irritates the trigger point. The trigger point responds to this emergency by sending out pain signals.

Listen to your Emotions

Don’t be surprised if during a massage one day you suddenly, for no reason at all, feel like crying your eyes out, or laughing hysterically. Massage some­times has that effect on people. Some of the reasons for this emotional response include:

  • Certain emotional memories — usually the result of powerful experi­ences — can resurface when your body is massaged.
  • No one has touched you with care, compassion, and gentleness for a very long time. In that case, the experience suddenly overwhelms you with gratitude, bringing forth tears.
  • You’re a very ticklish person.

massageAs esoteric as the first two explanations may sound, they’re entirely plausi­ble. In fact, certain types of massage are famous for stirring up emotions. Rolfing, for instance, often triggers this type of experience. The explanation for this emotional component of massage is straightforward — your body and mind have faithfully recorded your every experience, but some of these experiences were so unpleasant that you filed them away in your uncon­scious and shut down certain feelings in the corresponding part of your body. Massaging the affected areas can bring your awareness back to your body, thus unlocking the memories.

If you encounter one of these emotional peaks yourself during a massage, relax, breathe, and allow it to happen. Remembering that you are safe in your present environment, let your mind drift to whatever images or memories seem to be surfacing. You may find yourself remembering all sorts of things that you hadn’t thought of for years, and you can benefit from letting the attendant emotions flow freely through your body, without trying to stifle them. Professional massage therapists are accustomed to this type of emo­tional release and know how to make you feel comfortable while it’s happening. There’s no need to feel embarrassed by the experience.

If, as occasionally happens, one of these resurfacing memories is particularly traumatic, as in the case of abuse, do whatever is necessary to comfort your­self. Communicate with the person massaging you, letting her know that you need to sit up again, or get wrapped in a blanket for a feeling of safety. Have some tissues nearby to dry away tears. Later you can decide whether you want to pursue these memories further with the guidance of a psychologist or other counsellor.