What Are Geriatric Massages?

Published: Dec 21, 2020 | Revised: Oct 30, 2023
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

What Are Geriatric Massages?

Geriatric Massage is a massage treatment specifically adapted for elderly people. It can be any kind of adapted massage modality, such as Swedish Massage, Shiatsu, Javanese Massage, or Thai Massage, just to give some examples.

Massage for seniors (or elderly people) is generally applied very gently — deep tissue massages are basically out of the question — with little stretching, and without much friction on the skin.

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It’s carried out to help stimulate blood and lymph circulation, reduce arthritic pains, increase balance, stimulate flexibility and range of motion, reduce feelings of anxiousness, depression and loneliness, and to promote a general sense of well-being.

Increasing the blood circulation is perhaps one of the most important goals of Geriatric Massage, which can prevent complications of diabetes, improve lymphatic flow to excrete toxic substances from the body, stimulate healing of injuries, improve memory, and increase warmth in the body.

Attention to specific conditions of the elderly need to be taken into account though. For instance, elderly people with broken bones, osteoporosis, inflamed, swollen or bruised areas, varicose veins, recent surgery, certain heart conditions or cancer, blood clots, and thin skin need to be approached and massaged carefully, while observing the proper precautions and contraindications.

Additionally, older people may have difficulties to being massaged in certain positions; they may not be able to lie for longer periods on the back or on the sides, they may not be able to sit long, and such. A massage therapist needs to take these factors in consideration and needs to adapt the techniques used accordingly.


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