My encounter with the elderly population has been recent. My practice, specializing in Prenatal and Neuromuscular normally sees people in the age range of 30-50. However as of late, I’ve been receiving an influx in elderly clientele in which I’ve come to enjoy their company as they entertain me with stories that sincerely make me laugh and are true advocates of Massage Therapy.
Tonight, I heard a wonderfully short and concise speech about bridging the gap of communication between the elderly and today’s youth. As the speaker posed thought provoking questions, I reflected on my new and special demographic. When I refer to the elderly, I’m considering above the age of 75. This post is to share what is unique about giving massage to a person of this age and its benefits.
As we age, sadly, our muscle tone declines. Leaving a flaccid state that no amount of exercise can assist with. We can’t turn back the hands of time when it comes to our bodies. No matter how disciplined you are about going to the gym, as the body deteriorate, so does your muscle mass.
During a massage, the pressure used may be lighter. That’s not to say that there will not be some level of tension. Muscle tightness still continues to exists in areas of the back. However, it my experience, the more fragile the person is,the less pressure can be added. This is a general rule but there are always exceptions.
As we age, that fresh glow and the suppleness of plump skin also wears down with time, leaving the skin low in collagen, thin and drier than our youth. Because of this, an ample amount of body oil can be used to nourish the skin. Dry skin eagerly absorbs the oil within a few minutes of application. After liberal application of oil in a full body massage, the person will be not only relaxed but have beautifully moisturized skin as well. Spreading the nourishing oil over the body during a massage may be a routine that the elderly often time may neglect, so this special treat feels luxurious and relaxing.
If there is no spouse or strong family ties, the elderly often feel alone. Being left to their own routine, they seek out activities and the company of friends and others to socialize with. Many of my elderly clients take free fitness classes, enroll in college courses and stay abreast of all the latest events in their community. Like any person they enjoy socializing and being engaged. What Massage Therapy offers is the opportunity to not only care for aches and pains but also enhance the mind body connection.
Massage continues to be a relatively new pursuit in healthcare in the United States. As its popularity continues, the elderly community has the time and resources to care for their bodies and health. They appreciate massage for its physical benefit as well as its emotional one. Often times, sharing interesting stories during a session with their therapist or wisdom from past experience.
Giving massage to this demographic has so many benefits it truly astounds me. Relief from arthritis, helping with circulation, the release of feel-good endorphins in the brain are just a few worth mentioning. The aging population is an important and valuable aspect of our society. With each client I humbly learn something new and value my time with those with many years of experience. I encourage Massage Therapists to take on this new clientele and appreciate them for the exceptional aspect to give to add dimension and diversity to a growing practice.