Getting older is an inevitability and although we can’t prevent ageing, there are lots of things we can do to slow the process down; to keep ourselves active and healthy for as long as possible. I have several regular clients who are retired, and I have become interested in how I can best support them in continuing to lead their independent lives.
Many conditions that the elderly suffer from can benefit from massage. Arthritis is a prime example. Massage works to relax the muscles surrounding the affected joints which can become stiff due to the joint deteriorating. By relaxing the muscles the client may see an improvement in mobility, reduction in inflammation and hopefully a lessening of any pain.
Similarly, other conditions which affect flexibility, mobility or cause inflammation can benefit from regular massage treatments. Conditions such as Motor Neurone Disease, Stroke and Muscular Sclerosis all have symptoms which can be improved through massage.
It is not only physical conditions that can see a benefit. Mental health can also be improved with massage. It has been shown to increase serotonin and oxytocin, whereby both these hormones improve mood. Therefore, clients suffering with illnesses such as Depression, Anxiety or Dementia can also find relief from massage treatments.
Like most holistic treatments, evidencing the impact of massage on all of these conditions is difficult. Whilst there has been some research carried out, most is inconclusive so does not claim that massage will definitely improve symptoms. What is clear is that, although massage won’t necessarily ‘fix’ these conditions, anecdotal evidence suggests that a lot of people suffering with muscular skeletal or mental health problems will feel better afterwards. So there must be something in it.