Massage therapy is considered to be among the oldest healthcare practices. This is because it comes with a broad range of benefits, which include reducing stiffness, muscle tension and pain, among others. It incorporates the use of pressure (usually hands) to manipulate body tissues and enhance the overall well-being. And although not many know this, elderly massage is different from the type of massage applied to youngsters. Considering the physical and psychological changes that come with age, the kind of massage done on seniors should be mindful of their unique needs. Therefore, it is imperative to make sure that your masseuse specializes in geriatric therapeutic massage, so they know the proper techniques and the right amount of pressure to apply.
Massage therapy offers senior citizens with endless possibilities. From relieving various kinds of muscle tensions to alleviating pain for seniors living with age-related conditions such as heart diseases, arthritis, diabetes or high blood pressure. Therapeutic massages offered by professionals have been proven to provide elders with the following benefits.
Improves Sleep Habits and Quality of Sleep
One of the things that come with old age is poor sleeping patterns and low quality of sleep. The relaxing aura that crowds you when you are getting a therapeutic massage extends beyond the massage table. Seniors who go for weekly massages report that they are getting more quality sleep and sleeping longer. Massage therapy provides relaxation and brings a sense of calm, which in turn improves sleep quality and quantity.
Massage Therapy Alleviates Some Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
According to various documented studies, therapeutic massage has been found to relieve agitation, a symptom associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia. A publication by Journal for Gerontological Nursing in 1995 indicated that slow-back massage lowered agitation tendencies such as pacing, wandering and resisting. The journal Dementia of 2008 also recorded that massage reduced agitation behaviors in nursing home residents with moderate and mild dementia. Massage promotes calmness in dementia patients, lowering their aggressive non-verbal behaviors as well as verbal altercations.
Increases Mobility by Improving Postural Stability and Balance
Falling is one of the greatest concerns for seniors. This is because as we get older, our bones tend to become more infirm and our posture more imbalanced. Massage elevates the rate of blood flow to the limbs and other parts of the body that facilitate upright posture. It enhances proprioception, thus promoting balance and lowering the chances of falling.
Massage Therapy Improves Blood Circulation
Blood is responsible for several functions in the body. Besides the most crucial role of nourishing the various organs and systems with nutrients and oxygen, it also helps to carry excretory products and help regulate body temperature. Since proper circulation can become increasingly difficult with age, massage therapy helps to improve blood flow to all parts of the body.
It Helps to Alleviate Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Arthritis is an age-related defect that results from erosion of joint cartilages. If it is not managed well, the disease can cause joint pain reduced joint movement, loss of function and deformity in the long run. Since massage therapy involves the manipulation of tissues, it has shown to enhance natural joint lubrication, as well as release pain and relieve stiffness associated with arthritis.
Stimulates the Nervous System and Reduces Stress
Just like exercises, therapeutic massages also stimulate the brain to release endorphins, which are pain and stress-relieving hormones. Geriatric therapeutic massages can improve the nervous system as they lead to the production of various hormones which are essential to the human body.
It Gives You Something to Look Forward to
Most seniors citizens enjoy massage because it provides them with a feeling of care and connection, which they may be deprived due to various circumstances. For seniors, especially the immobile ones who don’t take part in outdoor activities, it is a great deal for them to have a professional who performs some invigorating healing therapies. It is an experience that every older person would look forward to.
There is no doubt that therapeutic massages have a plethora of benefits to the seniors. From improving the blood flow and alleviating pain to improving balance and reducing stress, the benefits are limitless. However, before you enroll for a massage session, make sure that you consult your doctor. Additionally, you need to make sure that a certified masseuse provides the geriatric therapeutic massages you get.