Over 15 million individuals in the United States of America use massage therapy as a complementary health approach. It is also greatly effective in treating osteoarthritis, a serious bone disorder. When undertaken by a professional massage therapist, massage therapy could be extremely helpful as an aid to regular osteoarthritis treatments.

Osteoarthritis affects approximately 31 million people in America, reports the Arthritis Foundation. This is a condition that involves the breaking down of the cartilage cushion in between your joints, thus leading to stiffness and pain.

Studies suggest that massage is an effective treatment for chronic osteoarthritis as it helps relieve the nagging pain and allows the muscles around the joints to relax. This eventually releases stiffness and promotes improved range of movement, increased relaxation, low stress and an overall sense of wellness.

Check out our most recent post on the health benefits of shiatsu massage here.

Massage Techniques For Knee Pain

In order to comprehend the massage techniques for knee pain, it is important to first acquaint yourself with trigger points. Trigger points are basically sensitive knots within the muscle bands that may occur due to multiple reasons like basic strain and stress, surgery or injury.

Why they are called ‘trigger points’ is because they cause pain and soreness. A critical point to note is that a trigger point is capable of referring pain to several other body parts too. For instance, if you say you have a ‘headache,’ it most likely started in the shoulders or neck, because that’s where the trigger point is located.

Types of Knee Massages

Here are some types of massages that are especially designed to relieve knee pain and involve specific techniques to achieve maximum results:

Lift Technique

The lift technique for knee pain has been designed for the main purpose of helping identify trigger points below and above the knee. The recipient needs to give adequate feedback to the expert during this massage to with regards to pain, whether or not it is foot pain. The massage therapists specializing in this type of treatment usually make use of essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint in order for it to be more effective.

How it is done:

During the lift technique-based massage therapy, the recipient usually lies down on his/her back, preferably on a semi-hard or hard surface, or even a mattress. The recipient needs to bend their knees, while resting the feet on the mattress. They could also keep the calf on their thigh if the expert is sitting beside them.

The therapist will put some eucalyptus or peppermint oil on their hands and start gliding them gently below and above the recipient’s knee area. The thumbs and fingers need to be places below and above the knee for gentle squeezing around the kneecap. While squeezing slowly, the masseuse needs to gradually slide off the areas, gently pushing away from them.

Deep Tissue Massage

This type of massage could be done on the entire body or on certain areas only such as the legs, hips, knee, neck or back. A deep tissue massage is designed for releasing the deeper layers of the muscles and providing relief from exercise, consistent pain patterns or tightness.

A deep tissue massage for the knees can help reduce toxins and muscle tension, and allow oxygen and blood to flow the body with ease. With the help and guidance of a skilled massage therapist, you could get an adequate understanding of your body and knee pain, and he/she may also assist in the realignment of your posture. This will ultimately help benefit your knee pain as well and eliminate key movement restrictions.

Friction Massage

This type of knee massage therapy is designed for targeting trigger points located on either side of your knee cap. Just like other techniques, the friction massage makes uses essentials oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint for maximum healing and relief.

In this type of knee therapy, the expert starts by placing their thumb on the side of your knee cap and pressing in gently from either side. The thumb needs to be glided from top to bottom, with adequate maintenance of pressure on the knee cap. The professional will repeat the process for about ten minutes, with variable pressure, depending on the need and preference of the patient.


It is difficult to say with accuracy as to the number of times one should massage their aching knees. According to the International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 20 minutes of massage done two times per week should be enough for you to notice results, i.e. you will feel relief in pain and better movement.