According to articles published in the Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario (RMTAO), there are multiple ways Massage Therapy can benefit Seniors in our community.
The RMTAO is a member-driven, not-for-profit professional association for Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs) in Ontario.
Seniors Citizens are dealing with many health issues that can present challenges in their day-to-day activities.
Conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Chronic Pain, Arthritis and after effects of Strokes, can present difficulties for an individual to go about their daily lives.
Thankfully, Massage therapy can help if you or someone you know is experiencing the effects of any of the conditions we mentioned above.
Alzheimer’s Disease. Almost 40% of people over the age of 65 experience some form of memory loss. When there is no underlying medical condition causing this memory loss, it is known as age-associated memory impairment. (Source: Alzheimer’s Society of Canada)
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia, associated with decreased language ability, loss of memory, and changes in personality and emotional stability.
Massage, especially hand massage, has been found to reduce agitated behaviours and symptoms of depression. Massage therapy can also help people with Alzheimer’s disease decrease feelings of isolation and reduce stress, which can ultimately also increase behaviours associated with agitation.
Chronic pain. Public Health Canada defines Chronic pain as when the pain lasts longer than 3 months.
Sometimes chronic pain can occur: Without a known cause, after an injury has healed or after a condition has been treated
Research shows that about 25% of seniors experience chronic pain, which is more than younger populations
experience. Some common sites of chronic pain among seniors include low-back pain, hip pain and knee pain.
Massage therapy has been found to help people with chronic back pain reduce pain and reduce reported disability. Massage therapy can also, especially when combined with an exercise program, help people with hip pain or knee pain find some relief.
Arthritis. Arthritis is a term used to describe a group of over 100 diseases characterized by inflammation in the joints or other areas of the body. Inflammation is a medical term that describes redness and swelling which causes pain and, when in the joints, can also cause stiffness. Left unchecked, inflammation can lead to significant and often irreparable damage to the affected areas, resulting in loss of function and disability.
According to the Arthritis Society of Canada, approximately 1 in 2 adults over the age of 65 are living with arthritis. While arthritis can impact people at any age, older adults have additional considerations to keep in mind to optimize their symptom management.
Massage therapy has been shown to decrease pain and stiffness and improve range of motion in people with osteoarthritis impacting various joints. Especially when combined with exercises recommended by an RMT, massage therapy can also help people with arthritis better complete their regular activities and improve their quality of life.
Stroke. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada states that a stroke happens when blood stops flowing to any part of your brain, damaging brain cells. The effects of a stroke depend on the part of the brain that was damaged and the amount of damage done.
The prevalence of stroke increases with age, and stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and reduced quality of life. Seniors who have had strokes are at higher risk of mortality, poorer functional outcomes, prolonged length of hospital stay, and institutionalization.
Massage therapy can help people who have had a stroke increase function and mobility and decrease risk of falls. It can also help people relieve post-stroke chronic pain as well as improve peoples’ overall sense of well being after a stroke.
As always, making healthy lifestyle choices, eating well maintain a healthy weight are keys to maintaining good heath at any age. Massage therapy is a great option for seniors to help reduce their musculoskeletal pain and relieve many symptoms of other conditions that become more prevalent with age.
Sources: Registered Massage Therapists’ Association of Ontario, Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, Public Health Canada, Arthritis Society of Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.