The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors

Several researches has been done on the benefits of massage therapy for seniors and it has been determined that this type of therapy can help with numerous issues either by providing temporary relief or by allowing the body to heal itself.  Here are some ways that massage therapy can help ailing seniors.


Massage therapy is often used in the treatment of older adults who have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis.   Different research studies show that it is possible that regular massage may decrease pain, lessen stiffness, and improve functional capabilities.  While this result is most likely temporary, it can allow the senior to enjoy a higher quality of life until the next therapy session.

Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia

Since touch is an important method of communicating with those diagnosed with various dementia diseases, massage therapy is often considered beneficial for calming and relaxing the person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia.  Hand massage can be the most effective since it relies on gentle pressure and is not as invasive as other types of massage.  It is easily taught to caregivers who can use it anytime their senior client or senior loved one becomes agitated.  While it may not always work, it is a low-cost treatment that requires little skill.  Even though studies are inconclusive about the health benefits of massage therapy with dementia patients, it does not have any adverse effects.

Improve Overall Health

Massage therapy can provide numerous benefits for seniors who have no major health issues.  It can improve range of motion, skin colour, muscle tone, and posture.  It also has emotional benefits since the power of touch has long been recognized.

Seniors who receive massage therapy will also notice improvement in their immunization system faster healing of other injuries.  Blood flow and lymph circulation are also improved, as well as overall pain relief for aches and pains that seniors often face.  Flexibility also improves with regular sessions.  Seniors will recognize less anxiety, tension, and stress as well as temporary relief from depression.

Help Sore Muscles Heal Faster

As more seniors live healthier lives and stay active longer, they will have more health issues usually associated with younger people such as sore and pulled muscles from physical activities.  Muscle strains can also result from participating in sports and other active hobbies. Massage Therapy will help sore muscles heal faster.

How Massage Therapy Works in Seniors

Therapists who specialize in geriatric massage learn the differences in providing services to seniors versus the rest of the population.  For instance, mobility may be an issue so they may allow the client to remain in the same position for the entire session.  They often apply different pressure or use specific techniques to provide massage in a hospital bed or wheelchair.  The sessions may also be shorter to prevent the client from getting sore or stiff from lying in one position.

The therapist must be careful to use softer techniques and strokes to prevent tearing thin and fragile skin.  A doctor’s approval may be required for certain health histories to ensure that the massage therapy does not hurt the patient.  No stretching is usually done for senior patients and the therapy is usually begins from the feet with the therapist working their way up the body.  More focus may be given to the hands and feet, especially if he senior does not walk or get around well to provide improved circulation.

What to Look for in a Massage Therapist

If you are looking for a massage therapist for your loved one, you should ask several questions and have certain expectations.  For one thing, find out if they have studied and practiced geriatric massage.  Do not set up an appointment without finding out this important information since the techniques used are drastically different.

The therapist should get a personal history of the patient, including any health problems or medications the senior is currently taking.  Issues such as poor circulation can limit the senior’s ability to feel, which can prevent them from recognizing pressure that is too strong.  The therapist should limit the session, especially if the patient has to maintain one position.  They should also be able to make accommodations for physical limitations, such as allowing them to sit or be in a semi-raised position if they have breathing problems.