Massage therapists are recognized for the invaluable work they do using skilled touch to bring relief to many who suffer from pain - without the need for surgery. In support of this event, assisted living communities are taking this opportunity to educate communities on ways seniors can benefit from massage therapy.
Massage Therapy for Seniors
Massage therapy is one of the oldest health care practices known to medical history. Its ability to reduce muscle tension, stiffness and pain has made it popular among patients suffering with arthritis. Massage therapy involves the use of pressure (typically by hands) to manipulate the soft tissues of the body to improve blood flow, enhance tissue healing and stimulate the central nervous system. However, massage therapy techniques used for seniors differ greatly from those used with younger individuals. Massage therapists strive to understand those differences in order to best treat their patients. Massage for the elderly involves gentle stroking, kneading, and the application of light pressure on specific points. Studies by the Touch Research Institute shows that massage facilitates communication and relaxation, and is therefore an effective therapy in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients.
Massage Therapy and (Osteo) Arthritis
Arthritis, which is described as an age-related “wear and tear” disease, results from erosion of joint cartilage. It is the most common form of joint disease in the world. Arthritis affects an estimated 20.7 million Americans who are over age 45 and is set to agitate the nearly 12,000 baby boomers turning 50 everyday.
In the long run, arthritis causes joint pain, loss of function, reduced joint movement and deformity. The manipulation of specific points on the body through massage therapy has been shown to promote the natural lubrication of joints, which greatly assists in the pain management of patients suffering from the stiffness of arthritis.
Research shows that a combination of complementary and alternative medicine treatments can influence positive changes in arthritic sufferers in the following ways:
- Reduce muscle tension and stiffness
- Promote flexible joint movement and improve range of motion
- Improve blood flow
- Relieve muscle spasms, reduce pain and swelling
- Aid in the general wellness of the client
Where to find a Massage Therapist Near You
Massage therapists work in both public and private settings. They are available in private offices, hospitals, wellness centers and shopping malls. Most make “house calls” visiting clients at their residence, whether they live alone at home or in their own apartment in an assisted living community.
Massage Therapy is also a common offering at many assisted living communities as well as some rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities. This complementary therapy used alongside physical and occupational therapy plans, can help increase mobility for individuals with stiff muscles and joints and can also help aid in relaxation for those battling anxiety and depression. Patients recovering from hip, shoulder, or knee replacement surgeries can take advantage of massage therapy services as part of their rehabilitation. Chair massage, hand massage, or full body massage is often available in these settings as part of a care plan focused on the treatment of the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
- Massage therapists are able to bring relief to those who suffer from pain - without the need for surgery.
- Massage therapy techniques used for seniors differ greatly than those used for younger individuals and involves gentle stroking, kneading, and the application of light pressure on specific points.
- Massage therapy can be a great option for seniors suffering from arthritis, joint pain, muscle spasms, circulation issues, anxiety, depression, or even Alzheimer’s disease.
- The manipulation of specific points on the body through massage therapy has been shown to promote the natural lubrication of joints, which greatly assists in the pain management of patients suffering from the stiffness of arthritis.
- Many assisted living communities, rehabilitation facilities, and skilled nursing facilities offer massage therapy as a complementary therapy alongside traditional treatment plans as part of an approach to treat the whole person.
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