It’s no secret that the fastest-growing segment of the American population is 65 or older. According to the Department of Health & Human Services, the number of people 65 and older numbered 39.6 million and represented 12.9% of the US population in 2009. By 2030, there will be about 72.1 million people 65 and older, or 19% of the population. As this population group grows, there will be an increased emphasis on health, quality of life and well-being.
Massage therapy offers many possibilities to this senior group of citizens. Massage can provide relief from various types of muscle tension and overall discomfort for seniors who are still very active as well as those who are living with limiting conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, or high blood pressure Therapeutic massage, provided by a licensed massage professional, has been proven to do the following:
- Decreases anxiety and stress
- Lessons the symptoms of depression
- Stabilizes blood pressure
- Helps alleviate sleep disorders
- Increases circulation
- Improves joint mobility
- Decreases inflammation
- Increases the sense of well being
- May lesson dependence on pain medications and other types of medications
- Improves the flow of lymphatic fluid
- Improves digestion
- Provides much needed touch and nurturing
Additionally, the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) states that massage therapy can improve the quality of life for those in hospice living or comfort care.
Most licensed massage therapists are knowledgeable of the conditions that can occur in seniors, and can provide light to medium touch massage for specific, individual needs. Of course, all therapists are sensitive to each client’s sense of modesty and privacy and will respect and accommodate special requests. Before undergo any massage session, it is always recommended to discuss your needs and make sure the therapist is trained in massage techniques for seniors.
Some may wonder if a physician’s approval or a prescription is required for massage therapy, and it is generally not. However, there may be instances when a client should consult with their physician to insure safety before beginning a massage program. For example, someone who has an acute illness, is undergoing chemotherapy, has osteoarthritis, osteoporosis or has had recent surgery, should talk to their doctor first.
All of the Massage Therapists at Elements Therapeutic Massage are trained in providing a massage that is specific to the needs of senior clients.