At Mirage Integrative MediSpa we use this therapy for various reasons, including pain management.
Being considered as part of the Integrative Medicine, General healthcare/medical offices do not provide information related to this treatment. For this reason I would like to present few benefits of it, and let you decide on the approach, and maybe try it.
Pain relief: For Arthritis, stiff and shortened muscles from under-use, or other age-related conditions can limit activities. The massage is great in relieving the discomfort associated with these conditions.
Joint mobility: It increases the mobility and range motion within the joints. Seniors commonly experience muscle and joint aches and stiffness. A specialized geriatric massage therapist will use gentle techniques such as rubbing, tapping, rolling pressing and kneading to manipulate and mobilize the aching muscles, tendons and joints. It also reduces the inflammation often associated with arthritis, or other degenerative conditions.
Stress reduction: All ages can benefit from relaxation massage, which stimulates the the body's endorphin release (the feel-good chemical), reducing stress. The elderly population may find that relaxation massage is soothing, and allows them to sleep better.
Improved circulation: Because of the lack of mobility, many elders have poor blood circulation. Often cold extremities (hands, feet) are a result of this problem. The gentle massage can improve both lymph and blood circulation.
Improve the Immune system: The normal aging process causes a slowdown in the immune system, making the elderly more susceptible to influenza, pneumonia and other diseases. A better functioning lymphatic system improves the immune function which can protect against these diseases. The lymphatic system is a network of capillaries, vessels and nodes that moves 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 strokes can be used to manually pump the lymphatic fluid through the system.
Reduce Edema (Selling): Swelling of the lower extremities is a common problem found in the elderly. It can be reduced by positioning the affected area higher than the heart; however, that can be a challenge due to the location and range of mobility. In some cases, a gentle massage directed toward the heart is the best alternative. Not all swellings should be reduced with this treatment. A specialist can also recognize the type before treatment; as an example, pitting edema, which is observed when the indentation of a finger pressed into the affected tissue, does not rebound after the finger is removed. Pitting edema may be an indication of a more serious medical condition (kidney problems- water retention, heart condition) and a health-provider should be alerted.
Lower blood pressure: High blood pressure, often called the "silent killer", affects about two-thirds of the population over the age of 65.
In the November 2004 issue of “Complementary Therapies in Nursing & Midwifery," researchers Esther Mock and Chin Pang Woo studied 102 non-medicated elderly strokes survivors (the youngest was 65), and found that slow-stroke back-massage lowered the 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 time, 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 treatments, and again three days later. Participants in the massage group showed significantly lower heart rates and blood pressure immediately after the week of massages and three days later.
Emotional health: Often seniors live alone, and very seldom come in contact with people. Hugs and holding-hands are part of well-being, good behavioral therapy in humans and animals. It is said that even plants react to gentle touch. There for, the treatment including gentle, caring touch in a safe and comfortable environment, may promote improved overall physical and emotional health.
In conclusion, the Geriatric Massage is unique as treatment and benefits.
Here is a summary of the important aspects, and things to consider before starting this form of integrative medicine:
-consult a physician before scheduling, and make a treatment plan;
-it is a flexible treatment, customized to client's needs. The client can remain clothed, in bed.
-can also be associated with acupressure, acupuncture or other beneficial treatments.
-as a pain management for arthritis and related conditions, after consulting a doctor, the treatment can be done on the substructures near but not on the affected joints, using gentle stretching, massage, acupressure and range of motion. The pain and stiffness from arthritis often results in compensatory postures which throw off muscular balance. As results "the knots" can be relieved with massage, the blood and lymph circulation improved, the happy-hormones released, and the flexibility gets increased.
-polarity techniques may even the energetic flow.
-it can be an great experience, and a life-improving therapy.
Information gathered and provided from various materials, including past events in partnership with UISAC (http://uisac.org)