July 18 to 24 is “Everybody Deserves A Massage Week”, and while that may not seem like a real health awareness issue, the fact is that regular massage can offer countless benefits to seniors and caregivers alike. Regular massage helps active seniors stay limber and fit, offers caregivers relaxation and renewal, and delivers real impact on some common conditions that loved ones deal with every day.
Massage allows seniors in good health to maintain their mobility, independence and comfort. Staying active and engaging in regular exercise is crucial to graceful aging, but older muscles, ligaments and tendons don’t handle stress or rebound from injury easily. Massage keeps all the moving parts of the senior body resilient and prepared for however much or little action is on the agenda. Even if your loved one isn’t running marathons, massage offers other physical benefits as well as emotional rewards. Therapeutic bodywork is especially worthwhile considering its non-intrusive nature – it can help reduce or avoid over-use of medication for some chronic conditions. Consider the proven benefits of therapeutic massage:
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Eases the symptoms of depression
- Steadies blood pressure
- Lessens the severity of sleep disorders
- Improves circulation
- Enhances joint mobility
- Reduces inflammation
- Enriches well-being
- Can reduce reliance on pain medications
- Increases movement of lymphatic fluid
- Boosts natural digestion processes
- Offers a social outlet, vital nurturing and warm human contact
Beyond the preventive benefits, massage is particularly effective for loved ones with certain conditions. Robin Roberts, host of Good Morning America and breast cancer survivor since 2007, recently told the AMTA that her wellness regimen includes a weekly massage. Robin finds it easy to include massage in her life, as her partner is a licensed massage therapist. But if you’re still wondering whether massage is a worthwhile investment for you, consider all the other conditions it can relieve and ease. According to the American Massage Therapy Association, bodywork can offer relief to sufferers from:
- Low back pain
- Breast cancer
- Other Kinds of Cancer
- Heart bypass surgery
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
In addition, the AMTA suggests that loved ones in hospice or comfort care who receive massage therapy experience improved quality of life and emotional rewards. Many care facilities offer massage therapy on site, and the AMTA website can help you find a massage therapist in your area who specializes in geriatric massage.
Everyone loves a relaxing, soothing massage, whether you call it self-care or self-indulgence. But for seniors, caregivers and homecare aides, there are many reasons to include massage therapy in a healthy, preventative wellness program.