Massage Therapy and Therapeutic Touch for Seniors

by Christy M. Duncan; NC Licensed Massage Therapist 

As one enters the Golden Years, it is important to take inventory on how you create balance and wellness through life choices incorporating nutrition, exercise, and self-care. One of the best ways to incorporate self-care is through therapeutic massage, along with yoga and meditative practices.

Massage therapy has been proven to benefit Seniors in many areas. It can provide a sense of well-being and increase overall body function and mobility. The first step is to choose the appropriate type of massage to maximize the therapeutic benefits. One of the best therapies is Swedish Massage which provides a gentle an effective touch to increase circulation, calm the nervous system, reduce stress, and increase endorphins.

Aromatherapy Massage is an enhanced Swedish Massage with pure essential oils added to the service. The oils have healing properties that can penetrate the skin and enhance relaxation.

Lavender oil in particular has important healing properties that can be very beneficial: it reduces anxiety and emotional stress, heals burns and wounds, improves sleep, restores skin complexion, slows aging with powerful antioxidants, improves eczema and psoriasis, and alleviates headaches

One of the latest and most innovative therapies used for Seniors is Cupping Massage, which has been used for centuries in Egypt and China. The therapist uses cups to create a vacuum on the skin. This creates suction and draws up cellular debris. It then releases adhesions in the fascia and increases mobility in the joints. With technology advancement, Cupping Therapy has been customized to enhance multiple therapies and provide maximum benefits and healing for the client.

5 Benefits of Cupping Therapy for Seniors:

  1. Helps Reduce Pain – It’s a safe way to reduce joint pain and muscle pain.
  2. Promotes Relaxation – It helps lower most patients stress responses and therefore offers protection against anxiety and depression.
  3. Boosts Skin Health – It is used to reduce cellulite and skin inflammation. By improving blood flow and expanding capillaries the skin is toned and tightened.
  4. Helps Treat Respiratory Issues and Colds – It helps improve immune function by moving the blood and lymphatic fluid throughout the body, which is why it’s been associated with reductions in lung diseases (especially chronic coughs), allergies, infections and asthma.
  5. Improves Digestion – It is beneficial for people with frequent stomach pains, diarrhea, acute gastritis, loss of appetite, gastrointestinal diseases and water retention.

After choosing the right therapy, it is vitally important to select a qualified therapist that is licensed and trained in methods that can be customized for Seniors. The massage therapist should carry a current state license and have training and experience that supports their menu of services. In addition to license and experience, the therapist should have the knowledge and sensitivity to intuitive touch. Seniors have multiple and diversified needs. A therapist that has the ability to sense the needs through intuitive touch will be able to better serve the client and provide the treatment plan that will bring balance and wellness.

How do I find the right therapist? It’s convenient to access a qualified therapist through search engines and personal websites, which have detailed descriptions of their mission and menu of services. Some local senior centers offer massage therapy. Wellness Centers that combine alternative medicine along with massage and other therapy modalities can be an ideal place to create a complete self-care package.

Massage Therapy Associations will have a list of qualified therapist in the state which you reside. AMTA has a current listing of insured and licensed therapist. Also, senior retirement communities and assisted living homes also provide onsite therapy or allow licensed therapist to come in and provide services to their residents.

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