Massage for Juvenile Arthritis

Massage for Juvenile Arthritis

  Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term for various autoimmune and inflammatory conditions in children below 16 years old:-

 • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (most common)

 • juvenile lupus 

• juvenile dermatomyositis

 • juvenile scleroderma 

• Kawasaki disease

 • Fibromyalgia 

• Mixed connective tissue disease 

Alternative therapies, such as massage, can be used to ease symptoms and improve quality of life in children with these conditions


Each type of juvenile arthritis has different symptoms, but pain and inflammation of the joints tend to be common to all of them. In addition to the effects on the musculoskeletal system, JA may also affect the skin, connective tissue, eyes and digestive tract. There are different types of Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), but symptoms may include:-

 • joint inflammation 

• changes in bone structure 

• pain

 • eye inflammation

 • psoriasis on the skin surrounding the joints 

• fever and rash 

Kawasaki disease:-

 • inflammation of the joints 

• inflammation of the blood vessels 

• possible related heart conditions 


• can affect skin, lungs, blood vessels, joints, brain, and kidneys

 • potentially affects nearly every system in the body Every type of JA can significantly impact on both childhood and adulthood, possibly missing school, not taking part in sports, (which can worsen arthritis symptoms), and psychological and social issues eg. depression, low self-esteem 

TREATMENT::- While there is no cure for JA, if treatment can ease inflammation and pain, it may bring about remission. Common treatment plans may involve stretching and physical activity, medication, nutrition, eye care,and occasionally splints and orthotics. However massage has been shown to be an effective treatment option. 

Massage for JA:-

 • decreased pain 

• lower stress and anxiety 

• increased levels of serotonin and dopamine, which improve mood 

Massage would not be used directly on affected areas but can be used to activate certain systems of the body, for example, working on the lymphatic and immune systems can assist with joint decompression. Heat/cold therapy can be used in conjunction with massage to improve pain levels further, for example, hydrotherapy, or compresses and ice packs which can be used directly on arthritic areas to ease pain and inflammation. 


 • no direct massage to the specific areas affected as this may increase pain

 • types of JA that affect the skin should consult their doctor before proceeding