Geriatric Massage

The word “geriatric” refers to health impairments that are associated with the later years of life. Gentle massage can:

  • alleviate pain
  • increase range of motion
  • improve flexibility
  • improve posture
  • improve quality of life
  • increase opportunity for physical activity

Gentle massage also improves length and quality of sleep, which is essential to good health. Receiving regular caring touch can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness. This is particularly important for seniors who live alone and may be touch-deprived.

Geriatric massage addresses the psychological and physiological aspects of aging and its associated diseases. Geriatric massage can ward off depression, fatigue, anxiety and irritability while providing the nurturing compassion of touch that is often absent in the lives of older people.

Geriatric massage takes age-related health conditions into account. Although aging is unavoidable, growing old gracefully can be accomplished with proper maintenance of the body. As a normal part of the aging process, the metabolism slows down, constipation may result; there are psychological, muscular and connective tissue problems which may be caused by stress, injury and/or wear and tear on the body. Emotional traumas, as from personal losses, may have a devastating effect upon a person’s physical and emotional outlook.

How Will It Benefit Me?
According to Dietrich Miesler, founder of renowned day-Break Geriatric Massage Project, “…a regular, weekly massage is the best prevention to most of the problems of aging.” To suit the needs of the older population, therapists are trained specifically in geriatric massage, which differs from regular massage because modification must be made to suit the needs of the elderly. The Day Break Institute which trains therapist in geriatric massage is recognized by AARP . Older people tend to suffer from a variety of age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease and often their circulation is reduced and physical activity may be lessened. Massage is very helpful to improve overall health.

Some specific differences in Geriatric Massage are:

  • Shorter sessions – a geriatric massage session can benefit the client in just 30  minutes
  • Gentle strokes – with an older person care must be taken to use motions that are gentle, comfortable and soothing. The strokes are designed to improve blood circulation and heart function, prevent diabetic complications, relieve muscle tension, and ease the body and mind

What Should I Expect During the Massage?
Traditionally, most massages are performed with the client unclothed  (with just their underwear on); however, you decide what amount of clothing you prefer for your own comfort level. Should you decide to remain clothed, we are trained to provide a massage by working on hands and arms, feet and upper legs. Whether you are more comfortable sitting on a favorite chair, or just relaxing on the massage table, we are trained to improvise. This is all part of the individual attention given to a Geriatric Massage. Throughout the session you will be properly draped and covered. Only the area being worked on will be uncovered. A light oil or lotion will be used to permit your muscles to be worked on without causing excessive friction to the skin.

Should I Have a Doctor’s Permission?
In most cases, the answer is “yes”. If you have a specific health condition you must receive permission from your physician to proceed with massage. Often times the massage therapist will ask you to have your physician fill out a release form. This is merely a precaution to ensure your good health. As with any population there are certain conditions that are contraindicative for massage, hence the importance of communication. At the time of the first session, clients complete a confidential health in-take form and discuss their goal(s), setting the tone for the massage.