Arthritis is the term used when one's joints are inflamed. There can be many reasons why a joint would become afflicted with inflammation, however the term is used diagnostically in specific scenarios. The two most commonly talked about forms of joint pain due to inflammation are Osteoarthritis (OA) and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

OA is the situation where the smooth cartilage in the joint has worn down or been damaged to the point where the bones begin to rub together. The friction against the rough surfaces is the cause of the inflammation. Symptoms seem to be mostly related to the volume of swelling that is commonly found with OA. Massage Therapy (MT) can be an effective non-pharmaceutical intervention in the management of OA. MT can reduce compression on the joints, reduce swelling, promote improved blood flow, and soothe painful sensations which combined ultimately helps you have a better day.

RA is more enigmatic as there doesn't seem to be a clear cause of it. What is known is that the connective tissues surrounding joints are what is affected. Because the fingers and toes are surrounded by dense connective tissues, it is common to find RA in those areas before it presents in others. Symptoms of RA usually coincide with immobile tissues surrounding joints, meaning that the stiffness is not from swelling, but from the inflexibility of usually pliable tissue. When treating RA, therapy should be directed at hydrating and mobilizing the stiffened layers of tissue. Massage Therapists are trained in the maneuvers required to affect those layers.