What Is The Best Type Of Massage For Elderly?

Massage is one of the safest, effective and enjoyable therapies that can help relieve symptoms of much age – related diseases, reduce pain and improve the quality of life of a senior citizen. However, choosing the right type of massage that is specifically designed for the elderly is important to achieve mind and body harmony. When choosing age- specific massage, it is highly recommended that you opt for senior’s massage or geriatric massage.


What is Geriatric Massage?

Geriatric massage is a very light and gentle type of massage that is specially designed to meet the requirements of the elderly population. The focus of the massage is to maintain or regain functions of a weakened body essential for overall well-being at any age. Apart from promoting basic relaxation, this type of massage helps relieves stress, ease joint pain and increase flexibility.

Geriatric massage therapists are usually aware of the health conditions commonly experienced by elderly clients. The therapist is specially trained to determine when a standard massage would be more suitable and when modified techniques (developed to treat wheel chair bound or bedridden clients) would be more effective. The therapists are also aware of certain medication restrictions and provide competent services to clients experiencing ailments such as diabetes, implants, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson and joint replacement.

When doing a geriatric massage, great care should be taken when positioning an elderly person. Once the body is positioned on the massage table, an elderly person is rarely asked to move. Generally, a senior’s massage session can take about 30 minutes to one hour per session. However, if the elderly person is wheelchair bound, the therapist will administer the massage to the elderly right in the chair, causing the massage session to take longer. Geriatric massage therapists usually spend more time massaging the hands and feet of the elderly, especially if the senior citizen is experiencing in making use his hands or feet completely. In such cases, doing a hand and feet massage helps improve circulation, body awareness and sensation in certain parts of an aging body.

Geriatric massage Characteristics

Although geriatric massage uses almost the same basic massage techniques as other types of general massages, geriatric massage is specially tailored to meet specific health conditions of a senior citizen.

Sprained Ankle

· Short session:

Generally a geriatric massage lasts for no longer than 30 minutes. However, the schedule can last longer especially if the client is bedridden or wheelchair bound.

· Gentle Hand Movements:

A geriatric massage therapist usually uses gentle hand movements that are comfortable and soothing to the body. Gentle hand movements done during a massage session works beneficially in boosting blood circulation, relieve muscle tension and relax mind and body.

· Gentle stretching and Passive Movements:

The gentle stretching and passive movements of legs, shoulders and feet not only help improve joint mobility, but also helps increase flexibility in the elderly.

· Hand and feet Massage:

Gentle massage of hands and feet helps relieve pain and prevent stiffness.

· Pressure strokes and Friction:

Frequent use of stronger movements, such as pressure strokes and friction works beneficially in improving flexibility in certain areas (neck and shoulders).

How is a geriatric massage done?

The fact that aged people get colder more easily when compared to young people, a geriatric massage usually done on a massage table that is warmed and has a thick pad placed on it to reduce pressure on healing surgical sites or protruding bones. While only the body that is massaged remains bare, the rest of the client’s body is covered with a lightweight sheet or blanket. However, to help the client feel more comfortable, they may be allowed to wear their undergarments or even clothes. Geriatric massage can be done at a massage studio, hospital or in the comfort of your home.

Sprained Ankle

Benefits of Geriatric massage

· Helps treat conditions such as arthritis, headaches, Parkinson’s disease and bursitis
· Improves quality of sleep
· Promotes increased range of motion to help ease joint stiffness
· Improves life quality
· Helps ease pain related to old age
· Reduction of muscle adhesions
· Helps boost blood circulation and prevent complications of diabetes like gangrene and leg ulcer
· Improved lymph circulation
· Helps heal skin discoloration
· Treat muscle and bone deterioration
· Treats respiratory problems such as emphysema and asthma.

Why is Geriatric massage the best massage for elderly than other types of massages?

Although there are different types of massages available for elderly, opting for a geriatric massage can prove to be quite beneficial as it addresses specific common problems of the elderly such as sensitivity to touch and increased fragility. Studies have revealed that touch can play a crucial role in having a positive impact on the physical and mental health of an elderly person. Since most elderly people feel lonely and isolated, a focused touch from a professional massage therapist helps ease stress, depression and other emotion related to isolation.

Touch can help boost the immune, stimulate circulation and ease pains and aches that plaque most aged people. Another factor that should be considered when giving a massage to an elderly is the fact that their body is very delicate. Therefore, opting for deep tissue or penetrating massages may not be suitable for elderly as it may cause them pain or bruising. In addition, since the skin of the older people tends to fragile and gentle, using gentle movements while applying cream o roil will help prevent tearing or irritation. Geriatric massage can also be used as a preventive therapy. If an elderly patient is undertaking a particular treatment, taking a geriatric massage along with medications can help increase the effectiveness of the treatment and ensure healthy life to a senior citizen.

When should the elderly avoid a Geriatric massage?
Aged people should avoid having a geriatric massage when they have the flowing conditions listed below-

· Bruising
· Blood clots
· Broken bones
· Open bed sores
· Certain types of cancer
· Varicose veins
· Have been taking muscle relaxers or blood thinners
A geriatric massage works beneficially in providing the elderly with symptomatic relief and also allows a senior to extend vitality in their lives. However, if you have a certain health condition, it is important that you take permission from your health care provider before you proceed with massage to ensure safe, effective and positive results.

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