Researchers at the Mayo Clinic recently published an article touting the benefits of receiving regular massages. The study seems to suggest that anyone can benefit, including seniors.
So what problems associated with getting older can massage therapy help solve?
As we get older, our muscles, tendons, and ligaments all tend to shorten over time due to a lack of elasticity. This condition is usually exacerbated by disuse and evidence of previous injuries. The result is a tightening of the joints where two bones meet.
Take the shoulder, for example. If you have trouble reaching overhead, it is probably caused by a condition known as impingement. The muscles and tendons in and around the shoulder joint become so tight that it causes the arm’s long bone (humerus) to grind into the arm socket (glenoid fossa) as you try to move it.
The result of all this grinding in the joints is worn down cartilage, so much so that you could end up “bone on bone.” During this entire process, inflammation, swelling, and chronic pain (arthritis) cause further shortening and immobilization– and the vicious cycle continues.
Our licensed massage therapists are trained in techniques for relieving pain in and around the shoulders, hips, knees, and lower back. We take special care to gently release tightness around the joint to help relieve chronic pain.
You may no longer work in a job outside of the confines of your home. That does not mean you are exempt from the ravages of stress. There are many situations in which you can fall prey to it:
- Caring for an ailing family member
- Death of a friend or a loved one
- Important medical diagnosis
- Emergency travel planning
- Upkeep of your residence
The list is endless. The point is, you do not have to be in your 20’s or 30’s to succumb to the symptoms of stress. In fact, there are many for seniors:
- Sleep disruption
- Poor eating habits
- Substance abuse
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Chronic pain, especially around the upper back and neck area
Just to name a few. Let your massage therapist know if you are currently battling with chronic stress. The appropriate treatment techniques will be utilized to help you relieve stress-related symptoms and help you feel better in the long term.
Gait abnormalities (problems walking)
One of the most devastating effects of age-related dysfunction is no longer being able to walk efficiently. You have undoubtedly seen those people, especially seniors, who walk stooped over or appear to be limping for no reason.
In most cases, it is due to muscle imbalance. Over time, our dominant muscles become stronger and tighter while our weaker muscles become more neglected. Over many years, this can lead to abnormal shifts in body posture and position, typically around the pelvis, shoulders, and even the spinal column.
Massage therapy helps tight muscles let go so they can enable the less dominant muscles to pitch in and help with everyday activities–like walking, for example. The result is better overall balance and coordination.
Do you find yourself slumped over a phone, tablet, laptop, or other devices, sometimes for several hours at a time? If so, you are not alone. More people, including older adults, spend increasing amounts of time on one form of an electronic device or another.
It is a pervasive problem being in the slumped-over position for so long; you end up getting stuck in that position! When your head is forward along with your shoulders, it can put a tremendous strain on your lungs.
Try this experiment. Sit in a chair with your head down, shoulders rolled forward, and stomach pulled in slightly. Now try breathing deeply.
Now sit up straight, pull your head and shoulders back, and take another deep breath. This time you were able to get a bigger gulp of air because your lungs could expand fully.
Massage therapy can help you breathe better by releasing the muscles that pull you forward into a slumped position. The muscles that help you maintain good posture will be able to function better, and as your posture improves, so will your breathing.
What if I am taking a blood thinner?
Tell your massage therapist about all the medications you are currently taking. In cases where a client is currently on blood-thinning medication, a gentler technique, such as Swedish Massage, is usually indicated.
We invite you to call Qi Massage & Natural Healing Spa in Winston-Salem to schedule an appointment. We are now open with limited hours and capacity. Call today (336) 407-6644 or click here to learn more about our $59.99 Massage for Seniors special!