Massage therapy benefits clients of all sizes and body types. New research indicates obese clients may benefit most from the pain-relieving and flexibility-increasing effects of massage in relation to arthritis.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates are 54 percent higher among adults with arthritis compared to those without the condition.

The new report analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2003–2009, and found obesity prevalence among adults with arthritis significantly increased between 2003 and 2009 in 15 states, significantly decreased in the District of Columbia, and remained stable in other states. In 2009, 48 states had obesity prevalence among adults with arthritis of 30 percent or higher, an article on the CDC’s website noted.

“Obese persons with arthritis may have a difficult time losing weight because pain may limit their mobility and physical activity, which is a key part of weight loss,” the article noted. “However, low impact physical activity and dietary changes can lead to successful weight loss for persons with arthritis.”

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