Wellness is a popular word in our culture and something we all aspire to. As we age, we need to adapt and and discover what is most beneficial in supporting and nurturing us at this part of our life journey. As the U.S. demographic shifts to an older population, it’s important to find ways of helping our elders maintain their health and vitality.
Senior massage is a specialized form of massage which draws from many massage modalities. Ranging from very gentle and restorative to more therapeutic, techniques are modified and adapted to each person’s unique health needs. The restorative and relaxing qualities can significantly relieve aches, pains, and stiffness, as well as many health conditions associated with aging.
Massage for seniors is gaining importance as an alternative therapy to increase quality of life. By providing a caring touch, massage can also provide create a sense of reassurance and intimacy, especially for those who may feel isolated or who would like to feel a deeper sense of connection and relaxation. The many benefits of massage include:
• Improved blood circulation
• Improved muscle function
• Restoration of range of motion in joints
• Easing of anxiety, depression and stress
• Deep relaxation
• Improved lymph flow
• Pain relief
• Enhanced immune function
• Deeper and more restful sleep
• Improvement in mental and physical energy levels
Many conditions associated with aging are often helped by massage:
• Inflammation and stiffness in the joints
• Tendonitis, Arthritis or Bursitis
• Asthma or breathing problems
• Deteriorating muscle tone
• High blood pressure
Health care providers surveyed by American Massage Therapy Association rated massage best among a variety of forms of alternative medicine, with 74 percent saying they believed massage was “always” or “usually” effective. Seniors who asked their doctors about massage found that almost two-thirds encouraged or strongly recommended massage.
The Weaver’s Tale Retreat Center in Oregon conducted a 2-year study examining the effects of massage therapy for seniors. At least 50% of seniors tested showed reduction in rates of breathing, increase in range of motion, improvement of posture, and development of more body awareness. 100% of the seniors who were tested showed a dramatic improvement in their moods and their attitudes toward life in general. Studies by the Touch Research Institute show that massage facilitates communication and relaxation, and is therefore an effective therapy in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients.
Healing Touch is a type of biofield therapy which uses light touch and techniques derived from energy medicine. Practitioners consciously use their hands in a heart-centered and intentional way to support and facilitate physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health and well-being. Healing Touch is especially useful for frail seniors, memory issues or recovering from surgery. Healing Touch was developed by an RN and is now widely used in hospitals. Research has been conducted in a wide variety of settings.
RECEIVING A MASSAGE….IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?
Sometimes massage may be contra-indicated for certain heart conditions, some inflammatory conditions, osteoporosis, varicose veins, thrombosis, and some skin conditions. If a client has severe health or certain medical issues, it will be necessary to seek a doctor’s approval to ensure that massage is safe and will be beneficial. Massage is generally conducted on a comfortable massage table and clients remain clothed or partially clothed. Seniors who use wheelchairs or who may be bedridden can receive massage treatments while seated in their chairs or reclining in their beds.
SELF-CARE CLASSES FOR SENIORS – QI GONG & ACUPRESSURE
Cait’s Self-Care classes are designed for seniors who would like to learn more about how to support their own health and wellness in their daily lives. This SELF-CARE & WELLNESS CLASS focuses on Qi Gong and Self-Acupressure. Qi Gong (‘Chi Gung’)is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates gentle movement, physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. It is practiced by all ages and all levels of ability for healing, health maintenance and to increase vitality. Acupressure is an ancient healing art which uses the fingers to find pressure or ‘potent points’ located all over the body which stimulate the body’s natural self-curative abilities. Please contact Cait to learn more about these classes.