The Timeless Art of Massage Therapy – Massage for Every Age
Let’s face it…. We’re all getting older. As our bodies change, so do our needs when our muscles are sore and achy. Because of our ever-changing body compositions as we age, what a college kid requires from their masseuse may differ from those of more mature ages. And as we grow older, our reasons for needing massages change as well. While most of us choose massage therapy to relax and unwind after stressful day, or to heal from workouts or injury, naturally occurring circumstances like arthritis, inflammation of joints, and other ailments in older folks are excellent reasons for massage as well.
Massage therapy is well-known as a healing experience for mental, emotional, and physical well-being for all and this remains true with every generation. Regardless of age, we all feel stress and anxiety at one time or another and a massage is a great way to blow off that steam. However, as we age, there are more medical reasons to partake in massages more often than we may have done prior. Massages like the Swedish massage, help to improve blood and lymph circulation, naturally lubricates the joints in the body for improved range of motion, and releases pent up tension in the muscles.
How Is It Different?
Geriatric, or senior, massages are exactly like any other massage but considers the ailments one may have, and the pressure one can comfortably withstand as it may be less than those of younger ages. With that being said, the main goal of a massage is relaxation, so you want to be as comfortable as possible during your time there. For those a little older, massage times may be reduced to 30 minutes or so to avoid overworking the muscles and joints. While you may feel sore afterwards because of the pressure applied, you don’t want to be in pain during or after your session. To further avoid discomfort, strokes may be lighter than previously experienced and may be used in more targeted areas for better pain relief.
Benefits of Senior Massage
As mentioned before, our bodies change drastically over the course of our lives and unfortunately, some aches and pains may be more prevalent than they were before. Massage therapy can target pain caused by osteoarthritis, can improve sleep quality, and can relax a busy mind by releasing tension in the muscles and improving the hormonal reactions during a session. By continuously caring for trigger points and knots in the muscles, you begin to improve your mobility within the muscles and joints over time. You also improve your endorphin levels, or the “feel good” chemicals in the body creating a calmer, happier you. Those suffering from memory diseases, Alzheimer’s for example, can be calmed and relaxed by the steady massage strokes on the back during times of agitation or nervousness. And while injuries may occur here and there, you may begin to heal faster as your muscles and tendons begin to relax, and injuries may occur less often as massage improves your range of motion.
What Massage is Right for Me?
Swedish massage is a full-body massage that is perfect for those just now stepping into the massage scene. Outside of beginners, Swedish massages are also great for those who are sensitive to touch. It uses light pressure in a kneading motion rather than digging deep to relieve muscle tension. If you have minor aches and pains and are just looking for a good relaxation outlet, this is the massage for you. It is also an excellent technique for those who experience a lot of tension relatively often. For those who will need more repetitive sessions, you may like the pressure and healing effects of this style.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massages are great for relieving muscle tension and promoting a better blood flow. Much like a Swedish massage, this technique uses light but steady pressure to remove knots in the muscles but uses stones as a tool in prepping the trouble areas prior to the massage. By applying heat to knots before massages, the knots are already primed and loosening up even before pressure is applied. Massage therapists may also choose to use cool stones intermittently or a warm stone as an actual tool during the massage process, using the stone to knead the knot. This is excellent for relieving stress, reducing pain, and eases chronic pains you may experience every day. However, if you are recovering from a recent surgery or injury, hot stone massage is not recommended for you. In this case, improved blood flow with flood the injury and produce even more swelling and inflammation than before.
Like the Swedish massage, this massage type also uses light pressure to relieve aches and pains. Shiatsu massages are a Japanese practice and have an emotional healing aspect that others don’t. This style promotes calmness, a reduction in stress and anxiety, and reduces muscle pains. For those who want a more targeted massage, the therapist can fixate on particular muscle groups to promote healing in those areas as well. You can also remain fully clothed for a Shiatsu massage in case you are worried about undressing during your appointment.
Reflexology sounds like a made-up science but it’s actually a technique commonly practiced by many massage therapists. It releases tension in the hands and feet because soreness in these muscle groups are said to be connected to and caused by disruptions in other organs or body parts. In Chinese practice, other medical issues within the body can be determined by the deferred pain found within the hands and feet. To relieve these body aches and pains, you can apply prolonged pressure to the corresponding pressure point until the pain melts away. This is an excellent method for promoting healing within the body and is said to be more effective in post-surgical patients than body massage for pain relief.
Trigger Point Massage
Trigger point therapy uses continual pressure to relieve knotted muscles, improving overall muscle movement. By applying firm pressure for 30-40 seconds on a knotted muscle, you can feel the muscle release, relieving pain caused by the tension. You can do these massages anywhere, especially at home if you are working from home. It doesn’t require much energy and is a very quick massage technique if you’re in a time crunch. Some resort to using a wall and tennis ball for pain relief but there are actual massage tools that make that practice obsolete. A Body Back Buddy or DaVinci Tool, for example, use that targeted pressure mentioned above to release tight knots in the muscle. Both are excellent for trigger point therapy, but if you want a more intuitive experience straight out of the box, we recommend trying the Body Back Buddy Elite which treats trigger points all over the body in no time flat!
Cronkleton, Emily. "What Are the Different Types of Massages?" Edited by Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D. Healthline, 14 Nov. 2018, www.healthline.com/health/types-of-massage#trigger-point. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.
Scotti, Ariel. "4 Hot Stone Massage Benefits That Totally Surprised Us (And 1 Important Reason to Skip Them)." PureWow, 15 Dec. 2019, www.purewow.com/wellness/hot-stone-massage-benefits. Accessed 2 Oct. 2020.
Wong, Cathy. "Reflexology Overview." Edited by Rochelle Collins, DO. Very Well Health, 13 Nov. 2019, www.verywellhealth.com/reflexology-what-you-need-to-know-89995. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.