By 2025, there are expected to be two seniors for every teen in our country. With advances in medicine and nutrition, seniors are living longer and healthier lives. Increased activity can increase the chances of muscle injury, while decreased activity leads to muscle stiffness and weakness.
Massage lengthens and softens knotted tissue, removes adhesions and lubricates muscle fibers for easier and greater range of motion. When specific massage strokes are combined with active stretching, it revitalizes muscles. In these ways, massage helps make movement and exercise easier, and tones and wakes up underused muscles.
Arthritic clients often report they find better and longer-lasting relief from massage than from pharmaceutical drugs. By stimulating the synovial fluid which lubricates the joints and nourishes articular cartilage, massage has long been associated with helping to reduce arthritic pain. The increased circulation around the inflamed and painful joint brings healing oxygen and nutrients vital to rebuilding tissue.
Potential recipients fall into three categories: robust, age appropriate, and frail. Undressing and/or lying on a table are not necessarily required. The therapist’s familiarity with mobility and communication limitations are very important.
Geriatric massage was developed by Dietrich Miesler, MA, CMT, to address the increasing population of older citizens who face physical challenges. Geriatric massage or elder/senior massage is sometimes used by therapists who have a limited basic knowledge of therapeutic treatment for seniors, but advanced training of 30+ hours in addition to basic massage schooling is strongly advised. This special advanced training is indication of thorough knowledge of treatment options and the handling of unique needs of the elderly.
Teresa received her advanced training for geriatric massage from Sharon Pushko, PhD, LMT, of Daybreak Geriatric Massage Institute (www.daybreak-geriatric.com), who continues the work of her mentor, Dietrich Miesler. In her experience as a senior companion and care-giver, Teresa has developed a passion for helping seniors with life’s challenges.