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The Benefits of Massage Therapy for Seniors

a female senior participates in massage therapy

Massage isn’t just for busy executives and professional athletes. And it’s not mere self-indulgence, either. In fact, massage is a 5,000-year-old holistic health practice that supports mind/body wellness. And it feels good. Tailored to the specific needs of seniors, massage therapy can offer mental, emotional and physical benefits that support a thriving retirement lifestyle.

What Is Massage Therapy?

Massage therapy is an integrative health approach that promotes wellness and healing. Trained, certified massage therapists press and manipulate the body’s soft tissue, which includes muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and skin.

Special Considerations for Seniors

Thinning skin and arthritic joints can make some seniors flinch at the idea of strong hands pushing and prodding their bodies. But massage therapists who cater to seniors adapt their techniques so they’re  comfortable for older bodies. Massage therapy for seniors typically entails shorter sessions and lighter touch. Areas afflicted by painful arthritis are accommodated, as are mobility issues if a senior has difficult getting onto or off a massage table.

A Holistic Practice

Massage is grounded in the interconnection of the mind and the body. Although its immediate impact is on the physical body, its effect is multidimensional, benefitting mental and emotional health as well as physical well-being. Massage may also be a helpful therapy for a variety of conditions, including anxiety, headaches, back and neck pain, and fibromyalgia. Plus, its many benefits can support healthy aging in seniors. Here’s how:

  • Relaxes the body. Massage triggers the relaxation response in the body, slowing your heart and breathing rate, lowering blood pressure and relaxing your muscles.
  • Reduces stress. Levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) decrease, which creates space for rest and recovery.
  • Promotes mobility and flexibility. Tightness in joints and muscles — which can increase with age — is relieved, which can enhance flexibility and mobility and decrease the likelihood of injury.
  • Reduces the risk of falls. Massage may improve postural stability and proprioception, your body’s ability to sense movement, action and location, which can improve balance and help reduce the risk of falls.
  • Boosts circulation. Improved blood flow helps your body’s cells get the oxygen and nutrients they need for optimal health. It can also help regulate body temperature.
  • Reduces pain. Massage promotes the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers.
  • Improves mood. Increases in the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, sometimes called the happy hormones, support a positive mental outlook.
  • Offers positive physical touch. Massage is an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of positive touch, which can sooth, instill a sense of safety and trust, trigger the release of the love hormone oxytocin, and reduce cardiovascular stress.
  • Improves sleep quality. Good sleep can benefit immunity and mood, and can lower the risks of certain conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Massage helps reduce stress and pain — two of the most common causes of sleep disruption.
  • Enhances immunity. Massage is linked to an increase in lymphocytes, white blood cells that help defend the body from disease.

Holistic Wellness at Robson Reserve at Sun Lakes

Mind/body wellness is important to our residents and to us. We provide access to resources that support healthy minds, healthy bodies, and healthy aging. With an on-site massage therapist, residents of Robson Reserve are able to conveniently enjoy massage therapy — and its many benefits. In addition, we also have yoga and tai chi classes, plus conventional opportunities to stay physically active at our fitness center and pool. Contact us today to book a tour of our retirement community or to find out more about the many services and amenities that support whole-person health at Robson Reserve at Sun Lakes.