I attended a training day organised by my professional body, NAMMT at the end of February. There were different speakers and a varied content to the day. I was especially interested to learn about a research project on the use of remedial massage on patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The study was a partnership between the Northern Institute of Massage and the University of Central Lancashire. A group of women aged 42-74 who had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for a minimum of 10 years, some for over 30 years, were given hand massages from therapists/tutors at the Northern. The treatments were weekly over four weeks. Initial assessment and consultation took place prior to treatment and a month after treatments finished. hand flexion, function and pain were all measured. The results showed that for most patients, joint pain in some fingers was alleviated up to a month after treatment. Joint flexion improved (goniometer measures) in at least one hand of the patients and the majority of the patients commented on what they perceived to be the benefits of the treatments.
I have recently seen a patient with osteo rather than rheumatoid arthritis and have had encouraging feedback after one appointment working particularly on the hands. The patient expressed improved movement and flexibility. I gave hand and finger exercises to be practised at home as well as demonstrating how to mobilise each joint.