What is Geriatric Massage and How to Conduct One Successfully

The need for healthcare increases as the average age of the population increases. The natural process of aging brings with it a number of health issues. Because of the huge number of people born during the baby-boomer generation, the US for the large part is moving towards an aging population.

On average, 10,000 people turn 65 on a daily basis. The body gets weaker as one gets older, and systems don’t remain as robust as they once were. This is why they need constant medical care and attention. One the most common ailments the elderly suffer from is arthritis. It is a painful condition that can drastically hamper the quality of life for senior citizens.

One way they can alleviate the pain to a certain extent is by getting a massage. There are many massage therapists who specialize in providing massages to the elderly. They have to be careful when providing this type of massage as the bodies of the elderly are fragile and if extreme pressure is applied, it could exacerbate the problem.

If you are getting into this field, you will have to make sure that you can help their muscles relax so that their body can combat the pain and discomfort they are facing because of their health problems. If you apply too much pressure, it would add to the discomfort they are under.

All the massage therapy services provided to the elderly are collectively referred to as geriatric massage. To the elderly, alleviating physical pain is just one of the benefits of getting regular massages. The fact is that as people get older, they develop emotional problems as well.

Adjusting to the problems of old age can be hard and they need a way to release the emotional buildup they are facing. What many people don’t know is that getting a massage can be great for their emotional wellbeing as well. In addition, getting a massage will also reduce the stress they are facing.

Since a great number of elderly people reside in nursing homes or other types of adult care homes, there are employment opportunities for massage therapists in those establishments. Having an in-house massage therapist means that any of the residents can get a massage whenever they want.

It is better than the elderly having to leave the comfort of their residence and going all the way to a massage facility. The need to commute puts unnecessary strain on their bodies and they may not able to relax the way they need to. So, it is a good opportunity for massage therapists to work in a care home.

Needless to say, providing massage therapy services to the elderly is different than doing the same for young and middle-aged customers and can be a challenge for you. You need to be conscious of the age of your clients and also be mindful of the body ailments they are suffering from.

If you don’t provide the massage in a proper way, it could cause immense discomfort and as a result, the person might not want to get a massage again. There is no doubt that getting a massage on a regular basis is important for any senior citizen. It is your responsibility to ensure that they enjoy the experience.

You also have to keep in mind the fact that the elderly tend to get bored and agitated much quicker than younger people. If you feel the client you are serving is getting bored, you will have to come up with a way to make the massage more exciting and interesting.

If the client is getting bored, he/she might not cooperate with you, which would make the massage more difficult for you. It could also increase the risk of injury. You have to be creative and come up with ways to keep the sessions fun. Otherwise, you may find that many of your elderly patients are not returning for a massage.

One more factor you have to keep in mind when performing geriatric massage is that the elderly often lose mobility. This is a common issue which develops with age. Their reflexes are slower, and the bones and joints weaker.

If they cannot move easily, it could be a challenge for you to provide the massage in the best possible way. You will also have to help the client get on and off the table. One way you can make the massage more comfortable is by using more pillows than usual.

The extra pillows will provide necessary support to the joints of the elderly during the massage. Once their joints have the required support, they could feel more comfortable while you perform the massage.

Moreover, you also have to be mindful of the fact that their skin would be different than that of your younger clients. This is why you have to be careful when deciding the products you want to use. For instance, there are certain lotions which are not ideally suited for use on the skin of elderly individuals. Remember to use appropriate products to avoid any problems.

The first thing you should do when an elderly client comes in is to ask them about any medical conditions they might be suffering from. To be on the safe side, it is a good idea to get in touch with your clients’ doctor. You should go ahead with the massage only if the doctor approves it. This way you will be certain that the client is not suffering from any condition that could worsen because of massage therapy.

Even if you don’t intend to work exclusively with elderly clients, it is a good idea to study about geriatric massage while in massage school. The situation is that the number of elderly massage clients is on the rise. You can only serve their needs if you keep the points mentioned above in mind. Moreover, you can only practice geriatric massage if you have received the necessary training for it in massage school.

Contact the top schools near you and learn about their curriculum and how much they focus on geriatric massage. Requesting information is 100% free when you use our database.

Neal Lyons is a founding member and volunteer contributor at the MTSI Institute, an information based portal dedicated to guiding and assisting aspiring massage therapists establish a successful career in massage. Neal is a published author and has collaborated on several mobile applications that serve the massage profession. You can view his published work on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Kobo. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and on Google+

Posted in Courses - Specialties, Types of Massage Techniques
3 comments on “What is Geriatric Massage and How to Conduct One Successfully
  1. Adelle says:

    I was wondering if there were any massage therapy schools in Philadelphia that specialize in geriatric massage training?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Beyond says:

    I never knew what geriatric massage is. This can really help me out!

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