The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors

12Oaks-Senior woman in spa-pexels-The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors -Feature

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We are all aware that massage is a perfect choice for calming, reviving, and healing the body and mind. However, a significant number of studies have revealed that massage can go beyond mere relaxation and tension relief.

More than just feeling good, massage therapy can provide many impressive health benefits for seniors when adequately incorporated into their routines. It helps to improve several age-related health difficulties, such as muscle stiffness, arthritis, persistent pain or discomfort, poor circulation, aging connective tissues, and limited mobility.

Let’s look into the basics of geriatric massage and how rubbing the right way can leverage older adults’ overall quality of life.


The Gift of Touch: How Massage Therapy Does Wonders for Seniors

What Is Geriatric Massage?

Geriatric massage is a form designed to meet older adults’ various health needs and fitness levels. In a way, most people describe elderly massage therapy as a less intense version of Swedish massage and generally safe when performed on most seniors. A geriatric massage session is shorter, lasting no longer than 30 minutes.

While regular massage therapies can be harsh on seniors’ delicate bodies, geriatric massage takes a much different approach to minimize tension in their muscles and skin. Instead of applying standard pressure, the senior-centered massage technique employs a collective range of slow and deep hand motions and intermittent use of stronger movements to target and gently manipulate the soft tissues. Given that older adults’ skin becomes less elastic and thinner with age, geriatric massage incorporating mild rubbing, stroking, and fluffing helps to prevent tears, bruises, and irritations.

Personalization is another feature that sets geriatric massage apart from other penetrating massage techniques. Based on the principle that seniors’ health and comfort should always come first, therapists will assess all aspects of their health, skin condition, taken medications, pain threshold, and contraindications to cater techniques suitable for their needs and physical capacity.

Therapists also play a crucial role in getting clients in the correct position and paying close attention to signs indicating whether the client is experiencing pain or discomfort during the session.


The Benefits of Elderly Massage Therapy

The elderly massage therapy was further developed from a technique originally invented by a Swedish fencing instructor Pehr Henrik Ling by two doctor brothers, Dr. George and Dr. Charles Taylor. Since its first introduction in the U.S. in the 1850s, it has offered numerous health advantages for seniors aged 60 and above, from improving physical health to enhancing mental health and enriching emotional health.

There are many reasons why geriatric massage may be beneficial for your parents and loved ones. Find below for timeless health advantages of elderly massage therapy:


Improves Gait & Balance

12Oaks-Senior man making yoga on the floor-pexels-1 Improves Gait _ Balance

Many seniors experience issues maintaining their postures and balancing on their feet as soon as they turn 50. Losing a sense of balance puts seniors at higher risk of falls and even leads to fatalities, especially when they live alone. The good news is that geriatric massage could be a solution for restoring balance aside from other senior physical activities. By penetrating muscles and loosening stiff joints, geriatric massage encourages better joint mobility and functions, giving seniors more freedom when moving around or standing still.


Alleviates Arthritic Pain

12Oaks-Hands of an elderly man-canva-2 Alleviates Arthritic Pain

Arthritis is a common condition diagnosed among older adults when the joints, connective tissues, and tissues surrounding the joints in their wrists, ankles, knuckles, hips, and knees swell up. The term “arthritis” is an umbrella term encompassing more than 100 different types of joint inflammation that limit a person’s range of motion and ability to perform daily activities due to varying degrees of discomfort and pain. It is important to clarify that elderly massage therapy doesn’t cure arthritis for good. Instead, it serves as an alternative treatment to alleviate the associated pain. By gently applying pressure, geriatric massage gives a boost to fluid circulation, which reduces joint stiffness and improves joint functionality.


Helps With Musculoskeletal Pain

12Oaks-Elderly woman dancing at home-pexels-3 Helps With Musculoskeletal Pain

Besides arthritis, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are another group of conditions that can adversely affect seniors’ joints, muscles, and bones. They cause recurrent muscle pain, decreased mobility, and joint inflammation that interferes with seniors’ everyday activities and tend to worsen over time. Much like arthritis, many health experts advise that geriatric massage can be a remedy to help with musculoskeletal pain and better improve seniors’ mobility alongside conventional medications and treatments.


Aids in Stroke Recovery

12Oaks-Elderly woman and her adult daughter walking outdoor-pexels-4 Aids in Stroke Recovery

Suffering from a stroke can be an unsettling experience for most, if not all, seniors. After surviving a stroke, patients are encouraged to begin treatment as soon as possible. Early occupational therapies and treatments help to keep the damaging effects at a minimum and increase the chance of speedy recovery since recovering from a stroke can take days, months, or even years. Geriatric massage and other massage therapies are valuable resources to facilitate recovery in conjunction with traditional therapies.


Improves Blood Circulation

12Oaks-Physiotherapist examining an elderly male patient-ss-5 Improves Blood Circulation

A stagnant blood circulation can cause disruptions to seniors’ overall health, with symptoms spanning from bulged veins, changes in skin color, and gastrointestinal issues to sensations of numbness and tingling in lower extremities, stiff joints, and aching muscles. Does geriatric massage improve blood circulation? The answer is yes. Several health experts and therapists claim that geriatric massage can provide great results on blood circulation as much as adopting healthy diets, keeping stress at bay, and exercising.


Reduces Muscle Tension

12Oaks-Senior man with back pain-ss-6 Reduces Muscle Tension

With various health issues arising with age, seniors are more likely to spend more time indoors or be homebound. Staying put for extended periods with little to no exercise has been shown to stiffen and weaken seniors’ muscles (sarcopenia) and joints as time goes by, meaning that they are more prone to injury while having constant struggles moving around. The most immediate effect of elderly massage therapy is to soften tensed muscles and tissues and encourage more blood flow to different body parts.


Busts Stress

12Oaks-Lovely elderly couple-pexels-7 Busts Stress

Have you ever found yourself feeling so worn out, and all you ever wanted was to enjoy a comforting massage session? We all know that massage therapy is an effective stress buster. It can do many wonders for stressed-out seniors by lowering heart rate and releasing feel-good hormones and in-body natural painkillers. In a way, magical touches performed by therapists also help to pamper seniors’ emotional health and alleviate their distress and feelings of isolation and loneliness when living alone.


Improves Sleep Quality

12Oaks-Senior sleeps-pexels-8 Improves Sleep Quality

Experiencing sleep disturbances or tossing and turning throughout the night are common scenarios for seniors whose natural sleep hormones decline with age. Can geriatric massage help seniors fall asleep faster? Many studies have discovered that massage has calming effects that may improve seniors’ bedtime and sleep patterns. Seniors receiving weekly massage therapies report sleeping longer and deeper. Consecutive good nights of sleep are essential for overall wellness and well-being, allowing the body to rejuvenate and repair itself overnight.


If you have questions about elderly massage therapy or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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