Massage Therapy For Senior Citizens
With the baby boomers aging and with the help of higher technology and greater innovations in medicine and geriatric science, life is not merely being prolonged but more and more senior citizens today have the opportunity to take advantage of more quality life than ever before. This translates into a generation of more senior citizens of more advanced ages living among us, and that is, in my opinion, a very good thing. National demographic studies tell us that nearly 40 million Americans are currently 65 years of age or older and over 2,000 more reach age 65 every single day. To accommodate the ever grown demand for massage therapy among senior citizens, many massage therapists are choosing to expand their expertise by studying the art of age-specific massage therapy which is often referred to as senior’s massage or geriatric massage.
For the most part, massage therapy for senior citizens is extremely beneficial and of utmost importance to relieve the aches, pains, stiffness, and the great number of health conditions which are so often associated with aging; such as inflammations in the joints; arthritis; skin discoloration and other dermatological conditions; deteriorating muscles and bones; fading eyesight and loss of hearing, reduced appetite and therefore weight loss, poor blood circulation; sleep disorders; weakened mental capacity, tendonitis; bursitis; asthma; emphysema; high blood pressures; diminished functions of the internal vital organs such as the heart, the liver, the brain, the thyroid, the stomach, and the intestines; and so much more. Most importantly, however, lonely and isolated, depressed, anxious, and fearful senior citizens derive pricelessly valuable benefits from the simple pleasure of the caressing human touch and the intimate companionship afforded them during massage therapy sessions.
The Weaver’s Tale Retreat Center in the State of Oregon recently conducted a two-year study examining the effects of massage therapy for senior citizens and they found that at least 50 percent of the elderly who were tested showed a reduction in their rates of breathing, an increase in their range of motion, an improvement of their postures, development of more body awareness, their skin took on healthier colors and their muscle tones were enhanced. The same study also showed that 100 percent of the senior citizen who was tested showed a dramatic improvement in their moods and their attitudes toward life in general.
Massage therapy for senior citizens does not differ in technique but it does differ, and it differs greatly in the application of that technique, whichever that technique may be. In other words, just about any of the different massage techniques can be used on senior citizen but they must be modified enough to accommodate the facts that, very often, the skin of senior citizens have become thinner while growing much less pliable and much more easily broken, their bones are thinner and more brittle, their joints are stiffer with reduced range of mobility, their blood vessels are more prominent and closer to the surface of the skin and their overall health, vigor and vitality have been downgraded through the years. Taking all that into consideration, extra care must be taken when positioning them on the massage tables, they should never be expected to perform the same movements as younger adults, and wheelchair-bound or bedridden seniors should get their massage treatments while remaining seated in their chairs or reclining in their beds.
Most massages for senior citizens are limited to anywhere from thirty to forty-five minutes because the elderly seem to respond better to shortened sessions with greater frequency. Furthermore, greater time is usually spent on massaging their hands and feet than any other part of their bodies. That is especially true for those seniors who have lost the use of their hands and feet as massaging them will enhance their body awareness as well as increase sensations and blood circulation throughout.
We all need plenty of TLC (tender love and care) but senior citizens need and deserve quite a bit more of it.