The effect of Swedish massage on pain in rheumatoid arthritis patients: A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2022 Feb:46:101524. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101524. Epub 2021 Dec 18.


Background and purpose: Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms in rheumatoid arthritis patients and require medical attention. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of Swedish massage on pain and painkiller consumption in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Materials and methods: A total of 60 patients participated in the experiment, with half assigned to the control group (n = 30) and half to the experimental (n = 30) group using the block randomization method. On patients in the experimental group, a 30-min Swedish massage was performed regularly for eight weeks: twice a week for the first four weeks, and three times a week for the last four weeks. The control group received routine care. The visual analogue scale-pain was used to measure pain in the two groups at three points of time: before the beginning of the experiment, immediately after the last session, and one month after the last session of the intervention.

Results: The analysis of covariance showed that there were significant differences between the two groups' mean scores of pain and painkiller consumption immediately after and one month after the last session of the intervention (p = 0.01). Furthermore, in the experimental group, the mean scores of pain and painkiller consumption decreased over the three points of time (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Swedish massage can be effective in reducing pain and the need to use painkillers in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Keywords: Pain; Rheumatoid arthritis; Swedish massage; complementary Therapies.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / complications
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Massage* / methods
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome