Can Massage Help Thaw Frozen Shoulder?

Can Massage Help Thaw Frozen Shoulder?

If you or a friend have ever experienced “adhesive capsulitis,” better known as frozen shoulder, you know just how painful and frustrating the condition can be. Physicians prescribe an array of treatments, but generally advise their patients that the condition is mysterious, perhaps brought on by hormonal factors or poor posture as much as any physical injury. 

What is Frozen Shoulder?

For those unfamiliar it, frozen shoulder is a condition where an individual will experience pain and stiffness in the shoulder and is not able to lift the arm over the head or place a hand on the hip. Frozen shoulder causes stiffness, aching, and a generally restricted range of movement.

Often, patients are told a frozen shoulder will eventually “thaw” on its own, perhaps after two years or even longer. For someone in pain, that diagnosis comes as a blow.

You Don’t Have to Wait

But you don’t have to simply wait it out. In fact, the message that frozen shoulder will eventually (and mysteriously) thaw may be counterproductive.

In some instances, physicians will prescribe physical therapy and may consider cortisone injection. More enlightened practitioners may include acupuncture. One thing is certain, however. Massage therapy is certain to have a positive impact.

How Massage Therapy Can Help

First of all, massage therapy, including that delivered by a premium massage chair, is beneficial as it increases blood circulation to the injured region and also reduces the formation of scar tissue. Increased blood flow stimulates the body’s own healing powers. 

Massage therapy can also improve range of motion, so that individuals with frozen shoulder are more able to complete everyday tasks without as much pain. As a consequence, they may feel their emotional burden of living with a stubborn and mysterious condition lessened. 

Most significantly, the response to massage therapy is multifactorial: both physiological and psychological factors interact in a complex manner, creating a collection of interconnected adaptive responses within the nervous system and soft tissue.

See Your Doctor

Since many shoulder problems are misdiagnosed as frozen shoulder, a proper evaluation should be performed by a medical professional to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. 

But in most instances, with any kind of shoulder pain, massage therapy can be both soothing and restorative. 

Lebert, Richard. “Massage Therapy For Frozen Shoulder.” Richard Lebert Registered Massage Therapy, Aug. 2018,

ePainAssist, Team. “Massage for Frozen Shoulder: Benefits & Techniques.” EPainAssist, Painassist Inc, 5 June 2018,

Massage, Dreamclinic. “Frozen Shoulder Is Unlocked with Bodywork |.” Dreamclinic Massage in Seattle, Bellevue, Redmond, Dreamclinic, 5 Feb. 2015,