Age comes to us all. That much, we all have in common. However, how we age, and more specifically, how we feel as we age differs greatly. While genetics and environmental factors out of our control play some role in this, so does what we do to look after ourselves as we move into our golden years. There are some key things that you can do to improve your quality of life, and overall feelings of wellbeing as you age. Massage offers a number of benefits that specifically address the problems that many of us encounter as we grow older, and today, we’re going to learn exactly why you should be considering massage as an important part of your health care routine as you age.
Pain is one of those unfortunate things that comes with age to many people. There is an almost endless list of potential sources for that pain, but ultimately, the origin is less important than the treatment. Many elderly people list improved pain management as one of the most important factors in improving their quality of life.
Massage is a proven treatment for pain management, and can help actively reduce pain from a number of sources. Arthritis can be cruel and painful, but massage can help limit the pain and improve mobility for those suffering from this disorder.
As we age, it is typical for a person to both require less sleep and to also unfortunately have decreased quality of sleep. Despite reduced sleep needs, if you’re not getting enough rest it can amplify the psychological and physical symptoms of any other conditions that you may be dealing with. Massage has been shown to help improve senior citizen’s sleep length and quality, something that leads to overall increased feelings of well-being.
Psychological Benefits of Massage
Human touch is important. We are hardwired to need and expect this as part of our daily lives, and yet, as people age they may often become more and more isolated. This can be due to health problems, social situations, or even living conditions if a person finds themselves in a facility that doesn’t lend itself to human interaction (as many unfortunately do not). Massage can help meet this need, and may even be useful for reducing symptoms of depression and social anxiety that elderly people may be suffering from as a lack of their interactions with others.
We touched on this in pain management, but the restoration of mobility extends beyond merely getting pain levels in check. Elderly people, especially those who may not have been as physically active as would be ideal over the last few years of their live, can suffer from greatly reduced mobility, something which negatively affects overall quality of life. Massage therapy can help to restore a degree of that mobility, especially when combined with a suitable exercise program. It is always important to consult with a physician before embarking on any treatment, massage or exercise, designed to treat mobility issues. That said, there is a lot of hope for people who may feel too stiff to participate in activities they once enjoyed.
The system can become more fragile as we age. As a result, the negative effects of stress, which are harmful to anyone to begin with, can become even more impactful on an aging population. Stress can lead to more pain, headaches, psychological disorders, blood pressure irregularities and more. However, massage has been shown to be an excellent stress reduction mechanism.
Linked to previous topics we’ve addressed; posture improvement is also important enough to warrant its own point. Years of working in a job that lends itself to bad posture, weakening muscles, and a variety of neurological and physical disorders can lead to poor posture in the elderly. This in turn leads to increased pain and mobility issues. However, massage can be employed as an effective treatment to help adjust posture to a healthier state.
No Side Effects
This final point is important. There are so many treatments recommended for seniors that come out of a pill bottle that it becomes easy to lose sight of the other resources that are out there. Medication is certainly warranted in the treatment of many conditions, however, side effects and potential drug interactions are excellent reasons to avoid or reduce medication whenever your physician thinks it is safe to do so. Proper application of massage can help treat a wide range of symptoms in the elderly population which might otherwise need to be addressed through pharmacology.