To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Expert Advice,” by Deborah Reuss, H.H.P., N.C.B.T.M.B., in the October 2013 issue. Article summary: Many people seek out massage for their OA symptoms, as it provides some of the same benefits as physical activity, including loosening muscles and increasing blood flow in the affected area. Massage helps with both physical and emotional discomfort associated with OA. When used consistently, massage can provide long-term pain relief, as well as other benefits like increased mobility and energy.

by Deborah Reuss, H.H.P., N.C.T.M.B.

The Role of Nutrition in Osteoarthritis, MASSAGE MagazineWhen it comes to addressing osteoarthritis, nutrition is an alternative to pharmacological interventions, according to Elizabeth Lipski, Ph.D., C.C.N., who specializes in natural pain relief. Nutrition is an appealing approach to osteoarthritis, because it can prevent other health problems and improve overall health—so having qualified nutrition specialists to refer to will benefit your clients.

By nature, nutrition is better positioned to provide long-term rather than short-term health benefits. The mechanisms of cartilage degradation in osteoarthritis are multifactorial, and some nutritional compounds usually contain several active compounds that target multiple pathways.

Foods most likely to provoke symptoms of osteoarthritis are corn, wheat, pork, oranges, milk, coffee and soy, according to Lipski. An osteoarthritis patient can also explore eliminating foods that contain gluten, such as wheat. The essential fatty acids found in vegetable oils contribute to the formation of prostaglandins that inhibit inflammation. Inflammation is what causes the pain associated with osteoarthritis, so most dietary guidance for an osteoarthritis patient will focus on preventing inflammation. Acid-alkaline balance testing is also important.

In her book, Digestive Wellness, Lipski states, “Arthritis has many causes: genetics, infections, physical injury, allergies, stress, and faulty digestion.” Studies have shown arthritic sufferers respond well to treatment with certain types of enzyme supplements because they have been shown to reduce inflammation. A nutritionist whom you refer your clients to might suggest they try digestive enzymes with each meal and experiment with different types that contain protease enzymes. It’s a good idea to take these on an empty stomach, to allow the enzymes to enter the bloodstream quickly and help reduce inflammation.

Deborah Ruess, H.H.P., N.C.T.M.B., is dean of the department of Asian holistic health and massage at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine ( in San Diego, California. She has a bachelor’s degree in holistic nutrition from Clayton College and 16 years of experience in massage therapy. She is in practice as a holistic health practitioner.