Stress follows us no matter what stage of life we are in. It can drain our energy causing a feeling of lethargy, anxiousness, sleeplessness, negativity, or depression. The physiological effects that stress creates manifest in the many systems of the body and can play a role in aggravating existing health conditions and also create new ones.
Our bodies rely heavily on movement and a healthy muscular system. Through the aging process, we lose muscle tone and hydration quickly. New aches and pains present themselves such as back or neck aches, arthritis, and disc diseases, to name a few.
Utilizing massage therapy in a health treatment plan can ease these tensions and gain an optimal quality of life for many.
How can a massage help senior health?
With regularity, a massage not only improves sleep quality but it also has the following benefits:
- Increases mobility
- Improves the range of motion in which joints and muscles move
- Increases joint fluids and circulation
- Reduces muscle restrictions
- Improves nerve functions
- Sustains general health and wellbeing
The massage styles, techniques, and lengths of time delivered will differ from client to client. The massage therapist will take a health history, ask questions related to your health that day, and provide calming or pain-relieving techniques depending on the client’s health and the treatment goal.
Some techniques or deeper pressures should be avoided with certain medications or conditions; speaking with a doctor or talking with a massage therapist before a massage is always recommended.
People might have mixed feelings about staying clothed or becoming undressed for the massage. We recommend receiving a massage in whichever form helps the client feel relaxed and at ease.
Clients new to massage therapy may feel most comfortable wearing light clothing such as a t-shirt or tank top and a pair of loose-fitting shorts. A massage in this way can be done over clothing with limited or no massage oil to the exposed limbs and neck, and no oil used overtop of the clothing.
If mobility is an issue, being seated in a massage chair, using a hydraulic massage table, or supporting the client with pillows and bolsters can give the client comfort while still allowing the therapist access to the body.
How to prepare for and make the most of a massage therapy appointment:
- Eating a light meal before a massage keeps blood sugars steady during and after your appointment.
- Take a warm shower before the massage. This warms the muscle tissues and facilitates the therapists’ techniques.
- Drink clear fluids such as water and avoid caffeine or alcohol.
- Some massage styles can be extremely relaxing, organizing a ride such as a relative, friend or taxi can make for a safe ride home.
Although some health conditions may restrict the amount of water allowed to drink, it is beneficial to increase water intake both before and after the massage. During a massage, the buildup of metabolic waste (lactic acid, stagnant blood cells, sulphates, carbon dioxide from cellular movement, and nitrogen) gets released from the tissues into the blood and urinary systems. In doing so, the body removes this waste in the form of urine or the gastrointestinal system.
Massage therapy can improve quality of life regardless of age. Having said this, it can have a significant positive outcome for seniors by improving mobility, circulation, nerve function, and general wellbeing.