A recent study found that a 60-minute “dose” of Swedish massage therapy delivered once a week for pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee was both optimal and practical, establishing a standard for use in future research. This trial, funded by NCCAM and published in the journal PLoS One, builds on an earlier pilot study of massage for knee osteoarthritis pain, which had promising results but provided no data to determine whether the dose was optimal. (The researchers defined an optimal, practical dose as producing the greatest ratio of desired effect compared to costs in time, labor, and convenience.) Osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease of the joints, is the most common type of arthritis, affecting approximately 27 million Americans.
Researchers randomly assigned 125 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee to receive one of four 8-week doses of Swedish massage (30 or 60 minutes weekly or twice weekly) or usual care. The usual care group continued with their current treatment and did not receive massage therapy. The researchers assessed participants’ pain, function, joint flexibility, and other measures at the start of the study and then at 8, 16, and 24 weeks thereafter.
At 8 weeks, participants in the 60-minute massage groups (i.e., both once- and twice-per-week) had significant improvements in pain, function, and global response compared with participants in the usual care group. Pain intensity had the greatest red CLICK LINK ABOVE TO READ MORE