What is Geriatric Massage?
Geriatric massage therapy is designed to benefit the physical needs of elderly patients. The focus is to help these patients recover from weakened bodies or constrictive disorders. It can be beneficial to those suffering from diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, and a variety of other illnesses that are common in old-age. The emphasis is on chronic pain reduction and improved circulation. Geriatric massage is similar to standard massage, but it is customized based on the needs and health conditions of each individual patient.
In contrast to standard massage, geriatric massage sessions tend to be short – about 30 minutes or less. This is to allow the patient to get comfortable with the new therapy and to prevent “overdoing” it. Upon consultation and evaluation, sessions can gradually become longer if the professional therapist feels that it is appropriate.
Geriatric massage is also gentler than massages such as athletic or deep tissue massages. Elderly patients with disabilities may be sensitive to the standard level of force applied in those style of massages, so the therapist makes sure to use gentle, soothing motions to improve circulation and heart function. The focus is on relieving tension, alleviating pain, and relaxing the body and mind.
Passive stretching, and light movement are also encouraged in geriatric massage sessions. By focusing on shoulders, feet, and legs, therapists aim to improve mobility and flexibility in elderly patients. This is an important focus as many people lose these functions as they get older. Being able to walk and move about comfortably is an important part of both physical and mental well-being for elderly patients. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to even more health conditions and a shorter lifespan overall.