Most people between the ages of 20 and 55 have regular massage therapy treatments; either to speed up the healing time from injury or as part of their preventative healthcare routine. Since many seniors suffer from physical ailments such as poor circulation, stiffness, and pain; as well as emotional challenges from increased isolation - massage therapy can be a solution to ease the symptoms associated with aging. There is a long list of reasons why seniors should get a massage – we’ve narrowed it down to the top 5.
Osteoarthritis is a common chronic condition of the joints and can be seen at any age but frequently observed in the senior population. It can affect any joint in the body and causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Massage therapy can ease joint pain and reduce stiffness by increasing circulation to the area allowing for symptomatic relief.
Our elderly population is increasingly lonely and isolated – one out of ten seniors suffers from depression. Massage therapy can boost the release of serotonin and lowers the body’s production of cortisol – a hormone produced in response to stress. This combination can reduce feelings of anxiety, depression and sadness.
Quality of sleep can decrease as we age due to factors such as changing sleep patterns, decreased physical activity, chronic pain and side effects from prescription medications. Regular massage therapy can aid in restoring a deeper sleep by increasing levels of serotonin. Serotonin is essential for the production of melatonin – a hormone released by the brain to help the body prepare for sleep. Improved sleep results in better health.
A primary benefit of massage therapy for people of any age is an increase of blood flow to the tissues. As the body ages, the level of physical activity diminishes causing poor circulation which leads to muscle tension, fatigue and weakness. Many seniors suffer from poor circulation and the symptoms associated. A recent study has shown that getting regular massage treatments reduce muscle soreness and stimulates blood flow. Seniors who suffer from limited mobility or vascular function and those who have no ailments can benefit from improved circulation.
Massage therapy for Alzheimer’s patients can ease feelings of loneliness, isolation and boredom by reducing anxiety and encouraging a sense of wellbeing. For example, a 2002 study found that both calm music and hand massage reduced verbal agitation, and the benefit was sustained for up to one hour. While another study shows that slow-stroke back massage on Alzheimer’s patients helps alleviate some of the agitation expressions that come with the disease, like wandering, pacing and resisting.
Massage therapy can be an effective, non-invasive way to ease some of the symptoms of many conditions related with aging. With regular treatments, seniors can experience a greater quality of life, increased energy levels and improved overall wellbeing.