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The Special Considerations and Health Benefits of Geriatric Massage

discovermassage - The Special Considerations and Health Benefits of Geriatric Massage

As massage therapists, we often have a variety of clients walk through our doors. Many are dealing with sports injuries, require some extra relaxation during the workweek, or are just senior citizens looking to experience the joy of massage therapy. There are plenty of benefits of massage therapy for elderly clients, and is particularly valuable to those experiencing aches and pains associated with age. This kind of therapy is often called senior’s massage or geriatric massage.

1. Technique

The technique for senior’s massage doesn’t differ greatly to massage techniques for younger adults, but the massage therapist does need to keep in mind that an ageing body does require a little extra care and attention. Massage therapists who specialise in geriatric massage understand that elderly clients will need to be positioned on the massage table a little more carefully than other clients. In the same manner as other clients and massage techniques, senior massage doesn’t ask the client to move much once they’re in position.

2. Time

The time for a senior’s massage can vary depending on the individual needs of the client. Senior’s massage usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour for a typical session. But, this may be shorter or longer depending on the client. Some clients may not be able to sit or lie down for an extended period of time, and so their session may be cut short and focused only on specific areas. On the other hand, a wheelchair-bound client may need to have their session adapted to spend more time focusing on certain techniques.

3. Hands and feet

If an elderly client doesn’t have full mobility or doesn’t use their hands and feet very often, a geriatric massage therapist may spend more time focussing on a client’s hands and feet. Having the client purchase a ‘head, neck and shoulder’ massage and then including their hands and feet is a great way to tailor their experience to their needs. Not only can this be a very soothing and relaxing technique, it has the added benefit of enhanced sensations, body awareness and increasing circulation.

4. Health benefits

Massage for people of all ages has a number of health benefits. But, for the elderly, massage can be of greater assistance. Geriatric massage can increase circulation around the body, reduce muscular stiffness and also help decrease inflammation in the joints, which may help those suffering with osteoarthritis. Other ailments and symptoms associated with ageing that can be alleviated with geriatric massage include skin discoloration, bone and muscular deterioration, and respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma, as well as tendonitis and bursitis.

5. Therapy

Many clients in the aging population can suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Touch Research Institute, there has been some research into geriatric massage and the benefits of alleviating symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Some people suffering from Alzheimer’s have trouble with communication skills, and it is believed that massage can help to facilitate better communication between the client and others around them. Not only can it help improve communication, but massage can help boost relaxation for the client, which can often be hard to experience when going through the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

6. Natural healing

There are often a number of health conditions that we experience as a natural part of ageing. One of the most common things people do is to seek advice from a medical practitioner, which can sometimes result in a number of pharmaceutical treatments to help alleviate symptoms associated with age-related diseases. Senior massage is a more natural alternative to conventional medical methods, which can be great for the body.

7. Human connection

Unfortunately, a lot of elderly people find that they lose contact with many friends and family members as they get older, and this in itself can be quite disheartening for some. When the elderly receive geriatric massage, sometimes the human connection experience can be a huge benefit. The touch of another person can be very comforting, and the company of another person can really make their day. Many seniors who are lonely can often feel symptoms of depression, and the company from an experienced massage therapist can be greatly beneficial.

Elderly people experiencing the benefits of massage

There is no doubt that working with older clients can be greatly beneficial; not just for the client but for the massage therapist, too. The client will often feel a number of health benefits such as increased mobility, pain relief and the great company from the therapist and human touch. But, for the massage therapist, it can be a huge benefit for them to provide a service to the elderly which can be highly rewarding. If you are a massage therapist, you may be considering specialising in senior’s massage based on the number of benefits for both you and the client. There isn’t a huge difference in technique for the elderly clients, but it is certainly important to understand that they will need a little extra care, attention, understanding and sessions customised to their own individual needs.