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Four Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors

October 22, 2014 Massage Therapy 0 Comments

The increase in average life span during the second half of the 20th century along with the entrance of the baby boomer generation into their senior years has caused the percentage of the population over the age of 65 to explosively increase. Aging puts people at greater risk for developing various health disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and postural instability resulting in falls. Research shows that massage therapy for seniors is beneficial in managing these health issues and improves quality of life for this sector of the population. Here is what your work in this area can accomplish.

Four Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors1. Massage Reduces Some Symptoms of Alzheimer's

Studies indicate that massage can alleviate agitation, one of the symptoms associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Research published in 1995 in the Journal for Gerontological Nursing found slow-stroke back massage reduced manifestations of agitation, including wandering, pacing and resisting. A 2008 study in the journal Dementia also discovered that hand massage decreased agitated behaviors in nursing home residents with mild to moderate dementia. In addition, a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Nursing found massage promoted relaxation in dementia patients, lessening verbal aggressiveness as well as nonverbal aggressive behaviors.

2. Massage Improves Symptoms of Osteoarthritis

Your work as a massage therapist can relieve some of the suffering associated with osteoarthritis (OA). In a 2006 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, scientists tested the effects of massage therapy on patients who had OA of the knee. Improvements were noted in pain, stiffness and physical function, showing massage is a worthwhile treatment for the condition.

The popularity of massage for OA patients is evident in the results of a 2001 survey appearing in Arthritis and Rheumatism, which found that 57 percent of the respondents with OA had used the treatment within the previous five months, a percentage surpassing those who had used a chiropractor, dietary supplements or over-the-counter medications.

3. Massage May Reduce High Blood Pressure

Limited research shows massage may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. A 2011 study published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing Midwifery Research concluded that massage was effective in significantly reducing the blood pressure of women with prehypertension, which is slightly elevated levels of pressure in the blood vessels. The treatment was also determined to be safe and cost-efficient.

4. Massage Improves Balance and Postural Stability

A major concern for the elderly is their likelihood of falling and sustaining serious injury. The International Journal of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork conducted an experiment in 2012 to determine the effects of six weekly massage treatments on the elderly. They found the sessions produced both immediate and long-term improvements in postural stability.

It is clear that massage therapy for seniors can be of value for several disorders associated with aging. Aside from the above benefits, the treatments can also deepen sleep, relieve headaches, boost lymphatic flow and speed healing from illness, reports Massage Today. It's wonderful to know that your work in this field will enhance the health and wellness of so many.

Photo credit: Flickr

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