A soothing massage can certainly help you relax, and it can soothe aching muscles, but massage is far more than a way of pampering yourself. Massage is increasingly being offered to seniors as standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions – from anxiety to digestive disorder to chronic migraines. A recent WebMD feature highlighted some of the many uses for massage therapy:
Headache. It’s not just back and joint pain that responds to massage therapy; massage therapy can reduce the number of migraines a person has and also improve sleep.
Osteoarthritis. In the first clinical trial looking at the effectiveness of massage for osteoarthritis, participants who received a one-hour massage either one or two times a week had improvements in pain, stiffness, and function.
Cancer. Massage therapy can promote relaxation and reduce cancer symptoms or side effects of treatment. It may help reduce pain, swelling, fatigue, nausea, or depression, for example, or improve the function of your immune system.
Anxiety. Several studies have found that massage helps relieve depression and anxiety.
Many massage therapists,
who have experience with older clients, will use gentle yet effective techniques, such as skin rolling, tapping and light kneading, to mobilize your tender muscles, tendons and joints.
For more information on the more than 80 different kinds of massage styles available, please see the MayoClinic’s special feature on massage.