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Posted on: June 21, 2016
With the aches, tension, and loss of flexibility that comes with old age, it's probably no surprise that massage therapy has a lot to offer seniors. Despite these benefits, there is definitely a right and wrong way for a massage therapist to treat the elderly. Decreased skin elasticity, thickness, and other age-related physiological changes mean that a therapist may want to keep the following tips in mind when treating senior patients.
1. Avoid turning seniors. Seniors with health complaints might have a hard time getting into all the positions necessary for a full session. Some may even find that laying face-down is painful or makes it difficult to breathe. Instead, massage therapists should work on older clients in a face-up position-- it'll be easier and safer for everyone involved. 2. Have extra cushioning available. Some elderly people lose subcutaneous fat, leaving joints uncushioned and prone to painful pressure points. Have a few extra pillows on hand to help make tables more comfortable while treating them. 3. Avoid working for too long. Massaging older clients for too long usually isn't a good idea. Not only can they become bored, agitated, and uncomfortable, a prolonged massage may trigger the release of too many stored toxins. 4. Know their history. Strokes, diabetes, and other age-related health conditions may need some working around. A good massage therapist should be aware of their client's health challenges before they begin working on them, and work to reduce the risk of complicating or exacerbating any preexisting conditions. With the right techniques, a massage therapist can help elderly patients experience less pain and an improved quality of life. Keeping these tips in mind while working with older patients can help both the therapist and client have the easiest, gentlest, most beneficial experience possible.
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