Massage is the key to relieving stress and tensions of everyday life that every individual irrespective of their age suffers from. Most of the seniors may not have to worry about challenges to be faced at work but they do have emotional and mental stress related to being lonely, isolated, sicknesses, and more. These seniors commonly have worked their lifetime and all of that hard work comes out as stress and ill-effects on their bodies in the form of diseases too. A recent development in the field of massage is targeted to help these seniors and is termed as geriatric massage therapy.
How does it work?
This specific massage therapy can be a session of 30 to 60 minutes and can be taken at home or in a facility center. It involves stretching of shoulders, arms, legs and feet of an individual with a combination of light strokes applied to various parts of a person’s body. The therapist makes sure that the strokes are only soft and light and main focus of the massage is over person’s back. The basic purpose of geriatric massage therapy is to improve overall health and well-being of an individual with prime focus on enhancing circulation and cardiovascular health. This specific type of massage therapy is focused on strokes designed to cater to aging joints, muscles and skin.Not any therapist could perform this massage but special kind of learning is needed in order to learn all the basics of geriatric massage therapy.
Geriatric Massage Diversifies Field:
Introduction of geriatric massage not only diversifies specialized client base for the therapist to practice on but it leads to the beginning of new careers for therapists who are experienced to work with adults and are thus seeking to learn a new technique or specialty in their field. Therapists who wish to practice geriatric massage needs to educate themselves about this new technique and they even need to learn the mindset and needs of elderly individuals. Therapists would need to learn about special tips and techniques for massage therapy to be done over old individuals suffering from some diseases, injuries, limited range of movement, or for those who have undergone some surgeries.
Benefits of Geriatric Massage for Elderly:
There can be many benefits that these aged individuals can gain from this specific kind of massage:
- This massage helps in decreasing body stiffness and inflammation.
- It helps in enhancing blood and lymph circulation.
- It aids in recovery and helps them maintain improved posture.
- This therapy can provide relief from symptoms of diseases including diabetes, arthritis and many others. It also gives relief in conditions including bone deterioration, asthma (other respiratory issue), feeling of isolation and other similar sufferings in seniors.
- It reduces anxiety, stress, pain and depression.
- It enhances immunity function.
- These therapies enhances strength and restores range of movement.
- It helps in achieving physical and mental balance.
- It gives them overall improvement in their health and quality of life.
Tips for Therapists Working with seniors:
Different techniques and tips apply when dealing with a different set of people. Here are some tips for dealing with elderly clients for massage appointments.
- Make sure you leave good amount of time between appointments so that your next client can arrive and prepare himself for massage and then leave after massage. If you are travelling to your client for therapy, make sure you leave early and reach on time as elderly can be too particular and may not like to wait.
- If your client has limited range of motion, offer them help with preparing for massage which includes undressing/dressing, climbing up/down the massage table or anything else.
- Ask your client for their preference whether it be about dress or use of any material over their skin or anything else. Make sure that they are completely comfortable. Pay attention to their facial expressions and other nonverbal cues.
- When you have time, you may listen to one or more stories from these clients that would be something from their lifetime experience. Sometimes you may be busy so make sure to tell your client that you would need to leave quickly when session ends.
- Boundaries between you and your client should be firm and respectful. Be flexible wherever you can but make sure that you treat these clients with complete sensitivity and respect.
- Let them take the decision for positioning themselves during massage. Some may be suffering from respiratory issues and some may have muscles’ stiffness or other problems. Be flexible with positioning them in either prone, supine, side-lying or even sitting position whichever is more comfortable for them.
- Begin massage with feet and work your way moving upwards. Make sure you use only fluffing technique in order to avoid tear or bruises.
- Before practicing any massage therapy with adults under doctor’s care or taking medications or who have undergone surgeries, it is best to take advice of physician/doctor.
Geriatric massage therapy is specifically designed to give elders a perfectly gentle and light touch techniques that would not only combat their problems but would also encourage good overall well-being. These light strokes and gentle massaging geriatric massage would give them comfort with reduced anxiety and would make these touch-deprived elderly clients feel pleased. For those elderly clients suffering from some specific diseases or health condition, it is however extremely important to consult with your physician before proceeding to take any of these therapies. So before you schedule a geriatric massage, schedule an appointment to your doctor first.