Saturday, March 17, 2012

Massage Therapy For Seniors

From the Senior Point of View

I’m 65 and I love massage! 5 years ago I had a lot of misconceptions about it, but today it’s my favorite part of health care. Let me share a few things I learned:

• It’s very modest. My body is always covered with a sheet and blanket. I dress and undress in a private room.

• Many years ago massage was associated with “the red-light district”. This has changed immensely! Today massage therapists are educated, highly skilled in pain relief, and are licensed in the health care profession.

• Massage is meant to leave you feeling wonderful. A good therapist will explain everything in detail and welcome any and all questions you have about massage, like is it ok to tell the therapist the pressure is too light or too deep or something hurts or that spot feels great. (Yes! Massage therapists really appreciate your input.)

I love massage and my therapist cares and takes great care of me.

~Betty E., Anchorage

From the Massage Therapist Point of View

I see more and more seniors in my massage practice. This ancient form of healing has evolved over centuries, to eventually become known as therapeutic massage. It is increasingly used as a tool by healthcare practitioners and individuals to promote health and wellness.

Massage therapists manipulate tight, poorly functioning muscles to return them to a more relaxed working state, thereby reducing stress, pain & dysfunction within the body.

There are 100’s of styles of massage, so I’ll mention the 3 most popular in Anchorage:

Swedish Massage offers long flowing strokes, compression, and sometimes assistance with range of motion. It is often associated with health clubs & spas of the past century.

Thai Massage incorporates graceful, flowing compression and stretching techniques designed to move the body’s energy throughout the mind/body complex. It is also known as assisted yoga and includes an attitude of Loving Kindness towards all people.

Tui Na Massage is also called Chinese Massage. It can be more vigorous in nature, treats the mind/body/spirit as a whole, and uses techniques based in Chinese medicine like Yin-Yang and Five Element Theory.

Massage therapists tailor each session to your preference, i.e. the amount of pressure desired or needed, areas to be worked on or concentrated on, whether you prefer to be fully clothed during a table massage or modestly undressed down to your comfort level to allow the use of massage oil on your skin.

Massage is a uniquely personal experience. Table massage is performed while you lie between the sheets under a warm blanket. Typically a massage session begins with you and the therapist in private room discussing what you want to achieve from the massage – is it for relaxation or to treat a specific type of pain or discomfort.

Once that is established, the therapist leaves the room giving you time to undress, climb between the sheets and get settled, usually lying face up. The therapist will knock before entering, asking if you are ready.

During the massage the therapist will uncover only the area of your body they are massaging such as your back, leg or foot. The therapist will also check with you to see how you are doing, if you’re comfortable and inquire about the pressure. When the session has ended the therapist leaves the room allowing you privacy to dress. Usually there is a short dialogue to ascertain how you are feeling after the massage.

Regardless of preferred style, massage creates a sense of well-being through increased energy, better circulation and mental clarity, allowing for more restful sleep, greater flexibility, and overall peace.

~Alanna K-Dunn, 58-years young
Licensed Massage Therapist
at The Oriental Healing Arts Center


Felix Woley said...

With their aging bodies, seniors need to take a time of to relax and give themselves a treat. Massage therapy can improve posture by reducing muscle tension and gives higher quality of rest that makes them sleep deeper and longer. All in all, the effects of a massage therapy can help them improve their general health and well being.

[Felix Worley]

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