As people age, there appears to be a tendency to slow down, but this does not necessarily have to be so. Many senior citizens are regularly physically active, participating in leisure activities such as walking, bicycling, cross country skiing, tennis or golf. Others are socially active, attending weekly dances, volunteering with local organizations or playing with their grandchildren. The unifying force in active seniors is their desire to move, be healthy and retain their independence. Massage therapy supports seniors' desire to be pain free and successful in their leisure pursuits, and promotes a healthful mind-body harmony. Scroll to the bottom of the page for current articles from PubMed on the benefits of massage for Seniors.
According to the Mayo Clinic, improved circulation is one of the many health benefits of massage. Improving circulation is particularly important for seniors, who often possess suboptimal circulation. This is especially true of diabetics, who frequently suffer circulation-related foot and lower extremity problems. The website AltMedicineZone.com states that massage therapy "offers improved blood circulation, which helps to prevent the complications of diabetes like leg ulcers and gangrene." Massage therapy also significantly improves lymphatic flow, which assists toxin removal from the body. Improved blood and lymph circulation can help seniors recover more quickly from injury, and it helps increase their vitality.
Seniors commonly experience muscle and joint aches and stiffness. Massage therapy, performed by a licensed massage therapist specializing in geriatric massage, will use gentle techniques such as rubbing, tapping, rolling, pressing and kneading to manipulate and mobilize senior's aching muscles, tendons and joints, according to the website Old-Age-Health-Tips.com. Massage therapy can also help improve seniors' joint range of motion by reducing inflammation and pain around the joint, states the website MassageTherapy101.com. Improved range of motion often translates into improved ambulation and mobility, which can significantly improve a senior citizen's quality of life.
According to the website AltMedicineZone.com, massage therapy can offer seniors relief from anxiety, depression, loneliness and stress, and can boost self-esteem by restoring mobility. Seniors can also benefit from the sense of camaraderie and companionship struck with their massage therapist. A massage therapist specializing in geriatric care will be particularly attune to seniors' need for companionship, and will work closely with seniors to ensure they're deriving the maximum benefit, both physically and psychologically, from their treatment. The simple act of human touch can have profound effects on a seniors outlook, and can stir a sense of hope that otherwise may be lacking in their lives.
Read more about the benefits of Seniors Massage here: http://www.amtamassage.org/articles/3/MTJ/detail/2318
Or this exciting study from PubMed: Six weeks of massage therapy produces changes in balance, neurological and cardiovascular measures in older persons.
and read this for important information on Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized dose-finding trial.