Soothing Client Pain Relief May Require a Devil’s Claw

Don’t be surprised if clients react in wide-eyed amazement when you suggest a massage with Devil’s Claw as a key ingredient. There’s nothing in the name that would suggest easing from pain. But once they understand how this plant got its name, they will be anxious for a hands-on treatment.

Devil’s Claw is so named because of the tiny little hooks covering its fruit. The root of the Devil’s Claw plant root has been used to reduce pain and inflammation from such conditions as arthritis, backache and rheumatism. Devil’s Claw owes its pain-relieving properties to iridoid glycosides, which are components believed to have strong anti-inflammatory effects.

There are several interesting studies, especially in Europe where Devil’s Claw was originally introduced, which have demonstrated the efficacy of the root in relieving chronic muscle and joint pain with less side effects than other leading medications. In one 4-month study involved 122 people with knee and hip osteoarthritis, he study compared Devil's Claw and a leading European medication for pain relief. The people who took Devil's Claw had as much pain relief as the people who took the medication, and they had fewer side effects. They also needed fewer pain relievers throughout the study.[1]

In a small study of 63 people with mild-to-moderate back, neck, or shoulder pain, taking a standardized extract of Devil's Claw for 4 weeks provided moderate relief from muscle pain. In a larger study of 197 men and women with chronic low back pain, those who took Devil's Claw every day for a month said they had less pain and needed fewer painkillers than those who took a placebo.[2]

Sports Massage for Injury Prevention

We’ve included Devil’s Claw as one of the leading ingredients in our Muscle & Joint Therapeutic Massage Creme which helps promote joint wellness and provides soothing relief to strains, sprains and other joint injuries.  Learn how to help your clients heal and prevent minor injuries while improving blood circulation and muscle relaxation with these Injury Prevention Massage techniques using the product.


  • Muscle & Joint Therapeutic Massage Creme, 1 oz



Ankle Joint:
1. While the client is lying on their stomach knead from the Achilles tendon attachment on the ankle to the soleus attachment at the knee. Perform a push-pull back to the ankle. Repeat 3 times.

  1. Rotate the ankle 3 times in both directions being sure to bring the foot as far up and side to side as is comfortable to the client. Perform 3 crescent moon cross fiber strokes to each side of the ankle.
  2. Finish with a foot to knee massage. Repeat on the other side.

Knee Joint:
1. Straight client’s leg into a locked position. Gently move the patella up down and side to side.

  1. Perform 3 small circular friction movements along the side of the knee joint and patella (reduces and breaks down swelling in the knee). Also good for massaging tendons around the knee.
  2. Perform 3 cross fiber frictions to the patella tendon. Bend the knee to stretch the tendon and then apply cross fiber friction massage with your thumbs slightly overlapping each other.
  3. Finish with a hip to foot massage. Repeat on the other side.

Hip Joint:
1. Bring client’s leg into a half frog while lying on their stomach. Gently perform 3 effleurage strokes along the IT Band from Knee to hip, holding pressure for 3 seconds at the end of the movement.

  1. Bring your hands to the inside of the knee, gently perform 3 circular motions. Straighten leg and perform 3 second holds at the “4 corners” of the hip followed by hip to pelvis effleurage stokes.
  2. Bring hip into full frog to stretch.


[1] “Devil’s Claw,” Mt. Sanai, Accessed September 14, 2021.
[2] Ibid