Five Benefits Of Massage Therapy – Injury Management And Prevention For Seniors
Written for YOU Massage Therapy, Southampton by guest author, Marc Innes, Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies
Whether you are an athlete, a senior citizen, someone who went through surgery, or a simply a regular Jane or Joe, you will find massages beneficial and enjoyable. In general, massages help reduce stress levels and lessen the effects of depression, anxiety and digestion problems. It can improve blood flow, as well as the immune and nervous systems.
As people age, the body becomes increasingly frail and movements slower. Geriatric massages are specifically designed to meet the needs of the elderly. The process involves using the hands to work on the muscles, soft tissues and joints in the body.
Massaging the body enhances blood circulation, increases range of movement, and relieves pain caused by chronic ailments such as arthritis, Parkinson’s, stroke or heart disease. It also helps reduce the chances of injury.
Here are some of the benefits of deep tissue massage therapy for the elderly.
1. Improves blood circulation
Getting the blood to flow to the various parts of the body becomes more difficult as a person ages. Massages counter the effect of aging by improving the circulation of blood around the body.
2. Enhances balance and gait
One common concern when it comes to seniors is getting into accidents and falling. As people grow older, their bones become weaker and more fragile. A massage helps improve the blood circulation to the limbs and the person’s sense of balance. This reduces the chances of falling.
3. Softens the muscles and tissues
Muscles and tissues harden over time due to lack of activity. Massages improve the blood flow to muscles and tissues, reducing the tension in the body. As a result, the muscles and tissues soften.
A deep massage helps reduce stiffness and pain on the joints around the hip, shoulder and knees.
The body’s muscles and joints also become more flexible after a massage, enabling a wider range of movement. This offers the elderly a chance to function more regularly and perform daily tasks.
4. Relieves symptoms of arthritis
A massage is not enough to cure arthritis completely but it helps relieve some of the painful symptoms.
By improving the blood’s circulation to the joints and relaxing the muscles, arthritis sufferers feel less pain.
The effects of the massage may be temporary, but it can offer the elderly opportunities to live and enjoy a better quality of life until the next massage.
5. Quickens the healing process
Healing from an injury takes longer and becomes more difficult as people age. The joints and muscles tighten, making the range of motion more limited.
Massage therapy keeps muscles, joints, tissues, ligaments and tendons more fluid.
Types of massages for seniors
This type of massage uses a variety of techniques to suit the needs of the client.
b. Back, neck and shoulder massage
Slouching or sitting down for extended periods of time can cause pain around the areas of the back, neck and shoulders. This type of massage is recommended for older clients with mobility issues. The massage relieves some of the stress that has been built up in these three areas.
c. Hand massage
For seniors who have never had a massage before or who suffer from dementia, a special hands-on therapy massage is recommended. Because this type of massage only involves the hands, it eases them into the experience of getting a massage. If they are satisfied, they can opt for other types during future sessions. Hand massages can make people feel relaxed by reducing the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.
d. Foot massage
If the person is uncomfortable with getting a hand massage, an alternative is the foot massage. This type of massage can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
In comparison to medications and surgery, massages are generally considered safe forms of treatment for a host of symptoms and ailments. Anybody can get a massage as it does not require a prescription or a physician’s approval. However, seniors are advised to consult with a physician prior to getting a massage. This ensures that they get the right massage for their specific needs.
Marc Innes is the Owner and Principal of the School of Natural Therapies, a training school for Massage & Holistic Therapies located in London. Marc began his career in the NHS, working in a number of managerial and training roles within the Ambulance Service in London. Marc spent much of that time educating and coaching medical staff. Over time, he developed an interest in all things complementary to Allopathic Medicine, in particular, Reiki Healing along with EFT, which culminated in Marc running a successful teaching and ‘energy healing’ practice. Marc is passionate about the massage and complementary therapy industry.