Every age brings with it different needs for maintaining physical health and wellbeing. Aging can mean increased health challenges, aches and pains, and chronic conditions like osteoarthritis and diabetes. Regular massage can help seniors to improve their health, enhance quality of life and keep feeling younger for longer. Research has shown that massage can provide the following benefits:
Relieve arthritis pain
Studies have shown that seniors who received massage had reduced stiffness and pain in their joints. Massage stimulates blood flow and lubricates joints, which assists with relieving pain and improving range of motion.
Poor circulation is a common symptom of diabetes and a challenge for many seniors. It can make the body, especially feet, less likely to be able to heal and fight infection. Massage is known to improve circulation throughout the entire body and to the limbs. This can increase healing rates and reduce infections.
Good balance is important for seniors so that falls can be prevented. As massage helps to improve circulation, it also helps with proprioception which is how we sense the position of our bodies when we move. This improves balance and reduces the chance of falling.
Quality sleep is critical as we age, to ensure that the body repairs itself and rejuvenates. Many seniors find that they have difficulty sleeping or have restless poor-quality sleep. Studies indicate that seniors who receive regular massages sleep more deeply and for longer.
A common part of aging can include feeling more aches and pains. Massage can provide relief for this by improving the flow of blood, nutrients and oxygen throughout the body to ease pain. It also releases endorphins which are scientifically proven to relieve pain naturally.
The aging process and being less active can cause muscles and joints to tighten. This can contribute to pain, restriction and difficulty moving. Massage reduces tension and tightness in the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, providing relief from discomfort.
Using massage therapy to relax tight muscles also helps to improve seniors’ range of motion. It enables more comfort when moving and can help you to be able to continue doing the activities you love.
Support the immune system
Seniors often have a weaker immune system which can result in getting sick more often and for longer. Massage helps to release toxins from the body, it can also help to boost your immune system which makes it easier for your body to fight off colds, flus and viruses.
Speed healing from injuries
Tight muscles and joints, as well as reduced blood circulation, can make recovery from injuries take longer. Massage is a way to keep muscles, joints, and soft tissues more supple and less likely to be injured as well as able to recover faster. So, what type of massage is best for seniors? Experts recommend that for seniors to benefit the most from massage therapy:
- Choose a gentle style of massage
- Have short massage sessions
- A massage early in the morning will help ease stiffness
- A massage near bed time will help with sleep
- Full body massage helps bring the most benefits
- Focusing on certain areas can help with specific conditions, i.e. focusing on the feet to help improve circulation