As people age, they are slowing down a bit, things take a little longer to do, and one can’t always do the activities that they are accustomed to. When a senior adult begins to slow down, they might forego some activities that once made them feel good and got their “motor runningâ”. This doesn’t necessarily need have to happen. A therapeutic massage might allow a senior citizen to continue doing their activities by loosening up the muscles and joints and helping their body recover between activities. Massage therapy is the “manual manipulation of soft body tissues to enhance a person’s health and well-being”. It is a very beneficial form of therapy for senior citizens. Massage therapy promotes better blood and lymph circulation, reduced pain and stiffness, and better emotional well-being.
Let’s first look at the how massage therapy can promote better blood and lymph circulation which is one the fundamental benefits of this type of therapy. If a person is over the age of 60 and begins to slow down, they are more vulnerable to poor circulation in their lymph and blood systems. This can become a problem if a senior is a diabetic, because the lower limbs are already at risk due to the reduced blood flow to their legs and feet. Regular massage therapy helps increase blood flow throughout a person’s body along with regular lymph flow. Having improved circulation of blood and lymph aids in a quicker recovery after an injury and also helps to increase the overall energy levels. With an increase in energy, a senior is able to go and do more and be more active which increases the ability to live more independently as a senior ages.
When a senior is able to be more active, they feel better emotionally. Activity promotes the increase of serotonin levels which contribute to the overall feeling of one’s well-being or happiness. The more activity a senior citizen is able to engage, the higher their serotonin level, the happier they feel. Massage therapy helps to reduce stress and anxiety, improving one’s mood, and allows them to be more active which increases their self-confidence. Visiting a massage therapist promotes a sense of friendship, belonging and other psychological benefits.
The most obvious benefits of massage therapy are the physical benefits of reducing pain and stiffness. A senior’s muscles, tendons and joints are all susceptible to soreness and stiffness, especially when participating in a more rigorous activity than they are used to. A massage therapist will use techniques which include kneading and/or tapping muscles and skin rolling to help the tender joints and muscles recover. Massage therapy can also increase range of motion with stiff joints, and allow a senior to comfortably participate in their daily activities.
At Senior Care Centers, we promote independent living in any way possible. We believe each resident is happier and healthier when they can be active and live independently.