Did you know that massage therapy can improve your overall health? For those aged 60 and up, massage therapy has some essential benefits, including reducing pain, stress, and headaches and helping to treat cancer and mental health conditions. The common term used for this is Geriatric massage. This style of massage is modified for older adults who require techniques adjusted for age-related conditions such as older skin, joints, and/or connective tissue, poor circulation, and age-related issues. Find out more about the benefits of massage therapy overall and how massage therapy can be specifically helpful for those with osteoarthritis.
Health Benefits of Massage Therapy
Massage therapy, or applying pressure on the skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments to provide relief, can involve gentle stroking, manipulation, and the application of light pressure on specific points. Massage therapy can help with the following conditions:
- Poor blood circulation
- Joint inflammation
- Digestive disorders
- Insomnia related to stress
- Soft tissue strains or injuries
Building massages into a regular healthcare regimen (1-4 times per month) can also increase serotonin and endorphins levels, reducing stress, anxiety,and depression.
Massage Therapy and Osteoarthritis
Massage therapy can also greatly benefit those with osteoarthritis, which is the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down. Here are two interesting statistics about osteoarthritis:
- There are roughly 27 million Americans with osteoarthritis.
- 50% of all people develop knee osteoarthritis by the age of 85.
The use of massage therapy for osteoarthritis can help with pain-relief. A masseuse can lightly stroke or knead the inflamed area to increase blood flow and release a soothing warmth. In addition, the use of massage therapy can actually slow the progression of the condition, provide more joint flexibility, decrease swelling, and help improve posture.
A massage is not the only treatment available, but it is a great complement to many other treatment plans. If you or a loved one are interested in massage therapy, talk with your doctor and make sure to hire a massage therapist with geriatric massage training.