How massage can improve the life of elderly adults
A recent study carried out by the American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA) has found a great range in positive health effects in elderly patients. Indeed, many people of advancing years are incorporating massage therapy into their integrated care programmes to help combat the aches and pains associated with old age.
"The ageing of both the silent and boomer generations call for an increased focus on improving and prolonging quality of life in this population," said Nancy M. Porambo, President of the AMTA.
"While integrating massage therapy into a health and wellness plan is useful for all ages, it holds particular value in the growing elder population."
Students enrolled on a course at the Australian College of Fitness & Bodywork will already know that regularly receiving massage can aid relaxation and stability, and alleviate high pressure as well as osteoarthritis. What's more, it can also negate the effects of dementia. These are all medical complaints that can come to the fore in the older generation.
Chronic pain is often undetected within those of pensionable age for two reasons: a fear of stigma and the false assumption that it comes naturally as part of an ageing frame. Not so. By using massage therapy, the study found, this pain can be treated, especially in the shoulders and knees, and also lends to a better stability and posture.
"[This study] suggests that regular massage may produce physiological changes that contribute to improved balance and postural control," says Jo Ellen Sefton, Director of the Neuromechanics Research Laboratory at Auburn University. "This may be a way to decrease falls in older adults."
Massage in the elderly can hold mental benefits, too, especially for those diagnosed with dementia. It has been found that even a fleeting massage can help repress the agitating behaviour that manifests itself physically through pacing and wandering aimlessly.
The benefits of massage in the young and sporting have long been documented, so the fact that the elderly can too enjoy this therapy can only add to the good reputation massage upholds.