The baby boomer generation is now the largest population seeking health care and will continue to be, over the next few decades.
It’s important as a massage therapist to understand how massage can help seniors, and what special needs they may have. Unlike years past, today’s seniors may be more familiar with massage and more open to seeking massage for pain and stress relief.
Providing massage therapy to seniors requires some special considerations. For example, certain stretching and joint mobility exercises are not advised for older adults. An older person might have difficulty with osteoarthritis as well as decreased flexibility. Changes in older clients’ skin may also require reduced pressure during a massage.
Massage has a great deal to offer in helping to alleviate the aches and pains associated with aging. Along with exercise and medication, massage can reduce symptoms of common osteoarthritis. Massage therapy also helps older patients increase range of motion, promotes natural joint lubrication, and helps to increase strength and muscle coordination. Massage can also boost natural energy levels and mental awareness, and can also greatly improve posture by reducing muscle tension.
Regular massage treatments can help to give seniors a higher quality of rest, and helps them to sleep deeper and longer which can have a significant effect on their general health and well-being. Massage therapy can also have a calming effect which in turn helps clients to deal with medical interventions they may need to experience in dealing with various conditions.
For people living with Alzheimer’s disease, massage is a low-risk and relatively low-cost intervention that can be easily taught to caregivers. Particularly with the concern over the long-term side effects associated with medications used to help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, studies on hand massage reported a consistent reduction in verbal aggression and nonaggressive behaviors in persons with dementia.
Pain management in the senior population is predominantly treated through medication, but thankfully, more people are becoming aware of the benefits of massage therapy. Massage for senior citizens is a natural solution to many ailments associated with the aging process, and has proven to be an effective complimentary therapy to assist and improve the outcomes of conventional medical treatments.