Massage in later life - Spring Osteo Clinic - Surrey Hills Balwyn Box Hill

How massage could improve your lifestyle in later life (part 1)

Andrew Resciniti
30 July 2018

Part 1

Research shows that a single, 60-minute, full-body massage therapy treatment can have a stabilising effect on measures of static and dynamic balance and physiological factors related to stability in older adults.[1] In other words – it can help your balance when you are moving as well as standing still.

As we grow older we have to deal with changes in all aspects in our lives, from physical changes such as degeneration of our joints, loss of muscle mass, chronic pain and other age-related conditions, to lifestyle and emotional changes including retirement, reduced income or the loss of loved ones. The only constant in life seems to be change, that’s for sure.

Did you know that regular massage could support you through these changes? Yes, massage.

In the first of our two-part series we highlight six benefits that massage could provide, as you get older. Here are the first three:

  1. Increase your blood flow to limbs

Increasing circulation is the most important benefit for an aging body. Good circulation can become increasingly difficult as we age, and massage therapy can help the flow of the blood into the limbs.[2]

As we age, we generally become less active and so our muscles harden and get tighter. Massage may assist to soften muscles and tissues by increasing blood flow to the areas and ultimately reducing overall muscle tension.

The rhythmic kneading movements of massage therapy stimulates the dormant reflexes in your muscle fibres, thereby restoring muscular tone. At the same time, massage guides blood and other vital nutrients to damaged muscle groups, thereby hastening the growth and repair process.

  1. Increase your flexibility

As our aging muscles tighten due to inactivity, it’s important to help them relax. Massage therapy may help soften up tight muscles and joints, enabling a wider range of motion in the activities of daily living.

When your connective tissue loses its elasticity, your flexibility declines. Massage therapy manoeuvres your muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments, and joints, thereby helping increase flexibility, mobility and movement fluidity. When combined with regular stretching these benefits can increase even more[3], helping make you less vulnerable to the injuries that often accompany the aging process. 
 

  1. Improve your balance

Falling is consistently listed as one of the top concerns for the ageing population, as our bones tend to become more infirm with age. Due to massage’s ability to increase blood flow to the limbs, it helps to improve proprioception, or the sense of relative position of body parts, thus improving our balance and reducing our chances of falling.

Research shows that a single, 60-minute, full-body massage therapy treatment can have a stabilising effect on measures of static and dynamic balance and physiological factors related to stability in older adults. In other words – it can help your balance when you are moving as well as standing still.[1]

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What else could it help with?

There is evidence to suggest that massage is also beneficial in alleviating the symptoms associated with conditions including osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and assisting to manage pain and anxiety in patients undergoing cancer treatment.[4]

Can massage do me any harm?

As a general rule, there is no data to suggest that massage is harmful, but there are some specific situations where it is not recommended. For example, massaging an inflamed area of skin may make it worse by causing irritation. You should also avoid having a massage on an infected area, as it might spread the infection. Several other conditions, such as heart problems, infectious disease, phlebitis, and some skin conditions are other instances where massage is not recommended.

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About Andrew Resciniti, Remedial Massage Therapist

Andrew has recently joined the team at Spring Osteo. He brings a wealth of knowledge built through his ten years of massage experience and his dedication is in treating patients through the ageing process. Whether it’s to assist you to recover from an injury, address chronic pain, or deal with the effects of getting older, Andrew’s massage services may assist you.

When you first come to see Andrew he will complete a thorough intake, and inquire about any medication you are using, as well as if there are special needs or concerns you would like accounted for during the massage session.

To make an appointment with Andrew call 9830 7044 or book online

-ENDS-

References:

[1] JoEllen M. Sefton, PhD, A.T.C., C.M.T., Ceren Yarar, PhD, P.T., Jack W. Berry, PhD, International Journal of Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, 2012 (http://www.ijtmb.org/index.php/ijtmb/article/view/152)

[2] Nina C. Franklin, PhD, Mohamed M. Ali, MD, Austin T. Robinson, MS, Edita Norkeviciute, BS, Shane A. Phillips, PT, PhD’Correspondence information about the author PT, PhD Shane A. Phillips, Archives of Physical medicine and rehabilitation, 2014 (https://www.archives-pmr.org/article/S0003-9993(14)00130-0/fulltext)

[3] C. Barton, F. Pattison, D. Morrisey, Journal of Science & Medicine in Sport, 2014 (https://www.jsams.org/article/S1440-2440(14)00520-9/pdf)

[4] http://www.amt.org.au/massage-and-you/benefits-of-massage.html