From Integrative Health Care’s 12/7/16 article, Massage’s Powerful Role in Relieving Pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis, by Leslie DeMatteo, LMT, MS, I feel she really must have researched many types of autoimmune arthritis maladies! Rheumatoid arthritis typically affects the small joints and is the most-common form of the autoimmune arthitises. Inflammation of the synovium, the lining of the joint, causes an inability of it to produce synovial fluid, so this decreases movement ability, and, over time, even actually damages the bone. Moderate pressure massage works best at pain reduction and increasing mobility (as well as reducing depression and anxiety!). In a study by Field, et.al, 2013, moderate pressure did both those wonderful things and increased grip strength compared to light pressure! In 1997, another study by Field, et.al. showed that the stress hormone, cortisol, reduced immediately for RA patients! In 2011, a study by Cubick, et.al, showed that myofascial massage 3x/week over 2 weeks provided significant pain relief from RA symptoms. Deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy can cause a flare up of inflammation, especially near affected joints. If there is no inflammatory response, the patient and therapist can try the work with a little deeper pressure, etc. the next time!