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Geriatric Massage Therapy

Geriatric Massage What is a Deep Tissue Massage: A deep tissue massage is a type of massage therapy that focuses on realigning deeper layers of muscles and connective tissues. Deep tissue is especially helpful for chronically tense and contracted areas such as stiff necks, lower back tension, shoulders tension, and painful areas throughout the body related to tension. Some of the same strokes are used asa classic Swedish massage however, the movement is slower and the deeper pressure is applied in concentrated areas of tension and pain.

How Does Deep Tissue Massage Work: When there is chronic muscle tension or a past injury, there are usually adhesion's (bands of painful, rigid tissue) in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Adhesion's can block circulation and cause pain, limited movement, and inflammation. Deep tissue massage works by physically breaking down these adhesion's to relieve pain and restore normal movement. To break down the adhesion's, the massage professional often uses direct deep pressure or friction that is applied across the grain of the muscle tissues.

Will Deep Tissue Massage Hurt: At certain points during a deep tissue massage it is possible to experience some discomfort and pain. If at any time you feel discomfort and/or pain beyond a "hurt so good" it is important to communicate with the massage professional so he/she can readjust their pressure and/or make other adjustments.

There could be some muscular soreness after receiving a deep tissue massage, it however should subside within a day or two. 

Benefits of a Deep Tissue Massage: Unlike a classic Swedish massage, which is used for relaxation, deep tissue massage can help people benefit with day to day stress related health issues to chronic health related issues. The following, are some examples of the many health benefits from receiving a deep tissue massage.

  • Relieves Stress
  • Encourages Relaxation
  • Over All Relaxes Muscle & Connective Tissues
  • Improves Flexibility & Range of Motion
  • Helps with Limited Mobility
  • Lowers Blood Pressure
  • Rehabilitates Injured Muscles from Injuries (whiplash, falls, sports injury)
  • Helps with Repetitive Strain Injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome) 
  • Helps with Postural Problems
  • Helps Manage Pain
  • Relieves Chronic Pain
  • Relieves Osteoarthritis Pain
  • Relieves Fibromyalgia Pain
  • Relieves Over All Muscle Tension & Spasms

Massage Therapist

Consultation: Prior to the start of any massage treatment, massage professionals will have each client complete a health history form. The main purpose of the client intake forms is to inform the massage professional of current and past health issues (within the year) and injuries so the massage professional can take special care to treat current issues and prevent additional injury.

Professionalism: By law, all clients receiving services by a licensed professional must be properly draped underneath a sheet, blanket, and/or towel during all massage therapy sessions. During a massage you are generally nude or in undergarments underneath the drapping. The massage professional uncovers only the part of the body he/she is working on. Our professionals will give each client privacy by leaving the room to wash their hands while each client undresses/dresses when getting on and off the massage table. Our professionals will also knock and ask to re-enter the room.

What to Expect During the Massage: Massage therapists may use fingertips, knuckles, hands, elbows, and forearms during the deep tissue massage. You may be asked to breathe deeply as the massage professional works on certain tense areas. It is very important to communicate with your massage professional on pressure comfort. The massage should never go beyond a "hurt so good".  

What Should You Do After a Deep Tissue Massage: Professionals encourage their clients to drink plenty of water after the deep tissue massage to flush metabolic waste from their tissues. Massage has a detoxifying effect on the body. It is important to avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol for the next 24 hours.

Additional Tip: Don't eat a heavy meal before a massage. 

Precautions: Massage is not recommended for certain people: infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds; immediately after surgery; immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor; people with osteoporosis should consult their doctor before getting a massage; prone to blood clots, there are risks of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage; pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage professional who is properly trained and certified in pregnancy massage. Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.

Study: According to the August 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, 34,000 people ranked deep tissue massage more effective in relieving osteoarthritis pain than physical therapy, exercise, prescription medications, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet, glucosamine and over-the-counter drugs. Deep tissue massage also received a top ranking for fibromyalgia pain. People often notice improved range of motion immediately after a deep tissue massage.

Another study, in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, found that the average persons blood pressure had fallen after a single 45 to 60 minute deep tissue massage. Additionally, a 2010 meta-analysis in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that massage modalities like deep tissue, reduce stress, hormone levels, and heart rate, while boosting mood and relaxation, by triggering the release of oxytocin and serotonin.

Geriatric Massage

Many people feel that touch is beneficial, on the basis of their own personal experience. Several studies have also supported the idea that touch can have a positive impact on physical and mental health. Elderly people often feel very isolated and alone, so focused touch from a skilled massage therapist or nurse can help ease depression, stress, and other emotions related to perceived isolation. Touch can also stimulate circulation, boost the immune system, and ease the aches and pains which plague many elderly bodies.

Several issues must be considered when working on the elderly. The first is that elderly bodies tend to be more delicate. Deep tissue work and penetrating massage techniques are not suitable for many geriatric clients, because these styles of massage can cause pain and bruising. Elderly bodies also experience more stiffness and joint problems, and this issue must be taken into account when working with the elderly. The skin of older people is also very fragile, requiring the use of massage oil or cream and gentle massage techniques to avoid tearing or irritation.

The goal of a geriatric massage session is usually to help the client relax, and to increase flexibility and ease joint pain. The massage tends to be very light and gentle, and the massage therapist or nurse stays very attuned to signs that the client might be experiencing discomfort. Sometimes, lightly brushing the skin is enough, while in other cases, slow circular massage moves may be used. Some patients also benefit from the gentle stimulation of pressure points.

Because elderly people tend to get colder more easily than young people, geriatric massage is usually done on a warmed massage table with a thick pad which reduces pressure on protruding bones or healing surgical sites. The client is covered in a lightweight sheet and a blanket by request, and only the portion of the body which is actively being worked on will be exposed. More modest clients may prefer to wear undergarments or even clothes, in which case the massage will be adjusted to the patient's comfort level. Geriatric massage can take place by arrangement in the home, at a massage studio, or in a hospital or long-term care facility.