Valecia Weeks is licensed through the state of Texas as a therapeutic massage therapist who specializes in providing on-site chair massage for corporations and events. She is also a certified personal trainer with NESTA, as well as a licensed ZUMBA instructor
Massage is something that can be beneficial to everyone but sometimes society leaves out the importance of geriatric massage, which is a specialty massage that focuses on age-related health conditions of those 65 and older. Some may think that this is a “watered down” version of traditional Swedish massage. It’s not. This technique is modified by trained massage therapists. Traditional Swedish massage sessions are usually 1 hour long; but geriatric sessions are usually 30 minutes with the client lying in a supine or side-lying position. To prevent damage to fragile skin and muscles usually found in this age group, stripping of the muscles and deep tissue strokes are avoided. The benefits of geriatric massage are systemic, therefore, it should be considered as part of a health-care plan for anyone who wants to maintain their health and independence well into their golden years.
There have been case studies showing the benefits of geriatric massage. Here are the results of a couple:
Lowers Blood Pressure:
- High blood pressure, often called the “silent killer,” affects a large amount of the population over the age of 65. In the November 2004 issue of “Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery,” researchers Esther Mok and Chin Pang Woo studied 102 non-medicated elderly stroke survivors, the youngest being 65, and found that slow-stroke back massage lowered blood pressure. The participants were assigned to either a massage group or a control group. The massage group was given slow strokes on their back for 10 minutes before bed for seven straight days. The control group received the standard care for stroke survivors. The heart rate and blood pressure of all participants was measured before treatments began, after the seven days of treatment, and again three days later. Participants in the massage group showed significantly lowered heart rates and blood pressure immediately after the week of massages and three days later.
Stimulates Lymph Flow:
- With the normal aging process, the immune system automatically begins to slow down, making the elderly more susceptible to the flu, pneumonia and other diseases. A better functioning lymphatic system improves the immune function which can protect against these diseases. The lymphatic system consists of capillaries and vessels that move toxins via the lymphatic fluid from the tissues to the lymph nodes, where they are collected and removed from the body as waste before they can enter the bloodstream. A geriatric massage using light, gentle stroking can be used to manually pump the lymphatic fluid through the system.
It’s important to find ways of helping our elders maintain their health and vitality. Massage for seniors is gaining importance as an alternative therapy to increase quality of life, and many massage therapists are getting special training to better serve this growing population. For more information on the benefits of therapeutic massage please visit www.assuringhands.massagetherapy.com.