As the baby boom generation continues to head into its senior years, its members are forming a new generation of older adults dedicated to keeping their bodies fit, healthy, and active. Therefore, it’s not a coincidence that today’s seniors are partly responsible for the rise in the popularity of massage as physical therapy and as a tool for enhancing both relaxation and personal growth.
Physicians and bodywork experts point out that massage can be an excellent preventative strategy for aging adults. It can help joints stay supple, speed up recovery from minor injuries, and decrease aches and pains in the lower back, neck, and shoulders. Many seniors with osteoarthritis report using massage therapy to complement other medical treatments for the condition.
One recent study did a comparison between a set of older adults who received massage therapy for two months and a control group in the same age bracket who did not. All the subjects in the study suffered from confirmed cases of osteoarthritis in their knees. The group that received massage reported a significant decrease in their levels of pain and stiffness and an increase in their ability to perform basic physical functions. Members of the control group did not experience any of these outcomes to a statistically noteworthy extent.
Some researchers even credit gentle massage with the capacity to assist patients with Alzheimer’s disease, due to its tendency to promote relaxation and increased communication. Even when an elderly person has forgotten many other things, he or she is likely to remember the positive feelings associated with touch. In this way, massage can calm mental agitation and assist in facilitating restful sleep. Experts point out that human beings need touch at every stage of their lives.