Benefits of Geriatric Massage

As members of the Baby Boom generation, which is currently comprised of 79 million people in the United States, continue to head into their Golden Years, there is an increased interest in maintaining the health and wellness of those 65 and older. As people age, their bodies naturally begin to break down and become more susceptible to aches, pains, stiffness, and disease. Depending on their life situations, seniors may become a little lonelier and have fewer opportunities to engage in loving touch with others. There are things the elderly can do to continue to live a meaningful, happy, and healthy life. Regular exercise, eating right, engaging in social activities, and learning new skills can keep seniors looking and feeling young. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, massage therapy can work wonders in keeping seniors young and healthy. Geriatric massage helps heal pain and stiffness while improving flexibility, circulation, skin appearance, and mental health for the aged. As the Boomer Generation ages, geriatric massage is one of the fastest-growing trend in touch therapy today.

Geriatric massage is performed by therapists who are specially trained in the modality. The therapists use gentle strokes or light, passive stretching to manipulate seniors’ muscles, joints and tendons. Therapists take special care to keep their strokes light in order to avoid harming seniors’ delicate skin or exacerbating an already painful site on seniors’ bodies. It is imperative that seniors receive clearance from their doctors before requesting massage therapy, especially when they have potential blood clots or diabetes.

The benefits of geriatric massage are many. Massage in general improves blood and lymph circulation in the body. This is especially important for seniors who often suffer from suboptimal circulation. Massage allows blood to flow more freely to affected areas and in effect speed the healing process of old injuries. Furthermore, because of the increase in lymph circulation, toxins present in the body are flushed out more rapidly which increase the body’s overall vitality.

Geriatric patients frequently complain of joint stiffness and arthritis. The pain caused by these conditions severely limits a senior’s mobility. Not being able to get around easily and enjoy everyday activities increases feelings of helplessness, aggravation and depression in older patients. Getting regular massages soothes joint stiffness, alleviates arthritic pain, increases range of motion in joints, improves posture, and even helps out with balance. These benefits give seniors the opportunity to move more easily and enjoy a life full of meaningful activity.

Massage also works wonders on aging skin. Senior’s skin is usually thinner, drier, and more delicate than younger skin. Aging skin requires special care to keep it in tip-top condition. Therapists use a plethora of therapeutic carrier oils like avocado or apricot oil during geriatric massage. These oils help moisturize dry skin, keep it free from infection, smooth wrinkles and protect skin from damaging UVA rays. Many therapists choose to add healing essential oils to geriatric massage regimes. Frankincense, rose, sandalwood, and carrot seed are essential oils that benefit older skin with their skin-rejuvenating properties.

Human touch is extremely powerful: it decreases blood pressure, creates bonds with others, reduces anxiety, and generally makes people feel happier. Sadly, many seniors find that they have fewer opportunities to engage in human touch as they age. Massage is a wonderful way to fulfill the primal need for touch. Seniors report feeling less depressed and having a more positive outlook on life following a massage. Massage also allows geriatrics to create important bonds with their massage therapists--keeping seniors less lonely and less depressed.

Geriatric massage is a fast-growing industry, and for many good reasons. A vast portion of the population is heading into its senior years in the coming decade. Consider adding geriatric massage to your massage offerings or recommend geriatric massage to one of your aging loved ones.

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