One group that is seeing an increase in the use of alternative therapy like massage is the elderly. In fact, many massage therapists receive specialized training to work with them. As the “baby boomers” get older and this population group grows, it’s good to know just how they can benefit from massage.
Geriatric massage is geared towards the specific physical and psychological aspects of aging.
- Increased mobility and activity– Geriatric massage increases joint mobility and relaxes muscles gently easing pain and allowing for greater range of motion.
- Better sleep- As people age they often aren’t as physically active and find it harder to sleep. Massage, especially before sleeping, relaxes the body and gets into more of a sleep like state.
- Help with elimination- The digestive system slows in the elderly. It is proven that as the body relaxes, the digestive system speeds up.
- Improved circulation- The gentle geriatric massage increases circulation, and is especially beneficial for conditions such as diabetes.
As adults find themselves living alone or in nursing homes as they age, receiving regular and caring touch like massage makes a huge improvement in the feeling of isolation and depression many undergo. Many have faced emotional trauma and stress and touch is a powerful healer. It has been shown that those with diseases like alzheimers are much less agitated with regular short sessions of massage.
It is recommended that those who are more frail or have multiple health conditions receive shorter sessions of therapy, typically not more than 30 minutes. Lighter, gentler types of massage strokes are used to protect fragile skin. Depending on how the client is feeling, a session may be nothing more than a gentle hand and foot massage. Geriatric massage does not have to be done on a regular massage table or chair. A trained therapist can be flexible so it is no problem if a client is more comfortable in bed, sitting in a normal chair or even a wheel chair. The utmost attention is paid to the person’s needs during a massage session. Many therapists are willing to visit a person at home, in a hospital, hospice, or in a nursing home. Massage therapists are nurturers by nature, and this is especially so with those who work with the elderly.
Depending on the person’s health, it is advisable to speak with a doctor before scheduling a geriatric massage. If you or a loved one would like to benefit from this type of massage please contact us and we can help you find a therapist.