Massage as we age offers healthy touch to a population that are often no longer receiving these health benefits. Touch is one of the most important senses, from the time we are born to the moments before we pass, the bodies need for reassurance and connection affirms our existence.
“There is a primal reassurance in being touched, in knowing that someone else, someone close to you, wants to be touching you” writes best-selling author Jim Butcher.
The elderly benefit much like the rest of the population when regular massage is available. They experience improved blood flow, stronger immunity, reduced stress and management of pain is improved, the main difference is the technique used. Lighter touch is necessary when our skin begins to thin. We often use gentle stretching techniques to increase range of motion and help our geriatric clientele to move and strengthen their muscles.
Massage is a stone in the path to a more satisfying sense of well-being.
“In her more than thirty years of research on touch, Tiffany Field, the head of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, has sought repeatedly to disentangle the two. In one series of studies by Tiffany Field, the head of the Touch Research Institute at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, one group of elderly participants received regular, conversation-filled social visits while another received social visits that also included massage; the second group saw emotional and cognitive benefits over and above those of the first. Field has found similar gains in both premature and full-term infants, pregnant women, children and adults with chronic pain conditions or emotional problems, and healthy adults. Even short bursts of touch—as little as fifteen minutes in the evening, in one of her studies—not only enhance growth and weight gain in children but also lead to emotional, physical, and cognitive improvements in adults. Touch itself appears to stimulate our bodies to react in very specific ways. The right kind can lower blood pressure, heart rate, and cortisol levels, stimulate the hippocampus (an area of the brain that is central to memory), and drive the release of a host of hormones and neuropeptides that have been linked to positive and uplifting emotions. The physical effects of touch are far-reaching” - Maria Konnikova, "The Power of Touch" Read more here!
If you are looking for massage for a parent or you consider yourself in the advanced years, think about finding a professional trained massage therapist that can offer these benefits to you.