What is geriatric massage?

The health issues of the Geriatric population are different from the general population. Just like the younger people, these senior citizens also need and enjoy massage. Older people often suffer from a variety of age related diseases that affect the blood vessels, skin, muscles and joints like Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease. As a result, they often have poor blood circulation, poor skin elasticity, and limited physical activity. Other health issues like anxiety, depression and social issues like the empty nest syndrome often make them feel sad and lonely.

These reasons make them very good candidates for a geriatric massage.

Geriatric or senior massage is defined as a form of massage specifically designed to meet the needs of the elderly population. It considers many factors that influence an aging body, including one’s overall health status, medical conditions, and medication use. It involves the use of hands to manipulate the frail, soft tissues of the body to improve blood circulation, relieve pain, and increase range of motion. There may also be active or passive movements of the joints in geriatric massage.

What is special about Geriatric massage?

Geriatric massage is tweaked in line with the specific needs of the elderly and with the awareness of the various body changes that have occurred with time. In Geriatric massage, the following modifications are made not to cause or worsen pain and to maximize the benefits:

  1. The hand motions are gentler because the skin and muscles are not as firm as for young people.
  2. The sessions are shorter because of the limited ability the elderly have to withstand stress.
  3. There is passive movements of the leg, foot , and shoulder joints
  4. The inflamed joints are generally avoided or given minimal massage while the uninflamed joints are massaged gently
  5. If needed, there may be occasional use of strong movements.
  6. It may be done with blankets, bolsters, or cushioning pads to make the massage more comfortable

Who can give a Geriatric massage?

A geriatric massage is often given by a masseur who is trained to recognize the special needs of the elderly while giving massage. He/She is trained in geriatric massage and obtains a geriatric massage therapy certification.

Benefits of geriatric massage

Geriatric massage can help the elderly maintain and improve their overall health, as well as regain certain physical functions that have been reduced or lost due to aging.

Because health issues seen in elderly like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases limit blood flow to the extremities, geriatric massage is very useful in increasing blood flow to these areas

Diseases like osteoarthritis and Parkinsonism can also reduce mobility and cause stiff joints. Geriatric massage can help to improve this and restore mobility in some cases.

Other benefits include stress relief and relaxation, decreased headache pain and improved length and quality of sleep.

In addition, it can relieve mental health issues like anxiety and depression and provide comfort to touch-deprived elderly patients.

Research has also demonstrated the benefits like an improvement in general health and well-being of elderly people, positive, relaxed feelings, increase in skin temperature, and reduction in aggressive behaviour of those with dementia.

In summary, a good geriatric massage is a relaxing experience and in improving the physical and mental well-being of the older person, it generally improves the quality of life.

Caution for geriatric massage

If you or an older one wants a geriatric massage, it is important to give your masseuse the following information: Your current health conditions, medication use, and skin condition and any other relevant health information.