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6 Reasons Why Your Loved Ones Need Geriatric Massage Therapy

Are you considering geriatric massage for your loved one, but something is holding you back? You’ve come to the right place.

As people age, they undergo many changes, which can impact their mental and physical health. It is possible to address these changes in many ways, and geriatric massage therapy is one of the effective options you may not have considered yet.

Geriatric massage can provide relaxation and pain relief, as well as a range of other benefits tailored to the needs of your elderly loved one. In this article, we will explore six compelling reasons why geriatric massage may be the right solution for your loved one.

A massage technique that can be particularly effective for older adults,

A therapist is massaging an elderly woman who is smiling

What Is a Geriatric Massage?

Geriatric massage is a kind of soft tissue manipulation that involves the use of hands to apply gentle and light pressure strokes and passive movements in elderly people.

Older adults experience muscle stiffness, restricted mobility, and chronic pain due to degenerative changes in their bodies. Besides such physical limitations, they also suffer from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. In older people, aging is commonly associated with diseases such as Parkinson’s, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.

Deep tissue massage is a good example of a massage technique that can be particularly effective for older adults, as it targets areas of the body that are often affected by chronic pain and stiffness. However, it is important for massage therapists to work within the comfort level of each individual client, and to choose the appropriate level of pressure and intensity for each session.

Geriatric massage is beneficial in improving not only the physical but also the mental health of elderly people. It brings certain physiological changes in the body that results in several benefits. Some of these changes are:

  • Improved blood circulation

  • Strengthened immunity

  • Elevated body temperature

  • Enhanced lymphatic drainage

  • Increased vasodilation

  • Improved tissue elasticity

  • Decreased stiffness

  • Reduced muscle tension

  • Increased level of endorphins

  • A relaxed state of mind

These changes improve targeted health conditions as well as the overall health of older people, hence positively impacting their level of physical independence and quality of life.

Indications of Geriatric Massage

Although geriatric massage is beneficial for the physical well-being of the elderly, it is particularly indicated for those seniors who experience one or more of the following issues:

  • Chronic pain

  • Arthritis

  • Limited range of motion

  • Constipation

  • High blood pressure

  • Incontinence

  • Osteoporosis

  • Insomnia

  • Parkinson’s disease

  • Alzheimer’s

  • Dementia and other cognitive impairments

  • Depression and anxiety

It is important to consult with a physician or other healthcare provider before starting an elderly massage therapy program to determine if it is appropriate for your elderly’s specific needs and medical history.

Geriatric massage therapist massaging an elderly's hands

Why Do Your Loved Ones Need Geriatric Massage Therapy?

While there are many other therapeutic interventions to improve the health and well-being of your elderly loved ones, you must be wondering why geriatric massage therapy.

So, here we have discussed 6 common benefits of massage therapy in elderly people:

Reduces Pain

The elderly population often suffers from chronic pain due to degenerative changes in their bodies, commonly due to musculoskeletal disorders.

Although pharmacological drugs are commonly used to manage their pain, older adults are prone to adverse drug reactions. Seniors already have extensive
medication plans, and adding more drugs for pain relief upsets their health.

Therefore, a non-pharmacological approach like geriatric massage is relatively effective and safe in relieving chronic pain in the elderly as it has no side effects or adverse drug reactions.

Geriatric massage has been found to enhance blood circulation, promoting oxygen and nutrient transport to the tissues, which reduces inflammation and promotes healing, ultimately decreasing pain.

Massage therapy also decreases muscle tension and stiffness, increasing muscle flexibility and decreasing the complaints of constant pain.

Elderly woman is bending with pain in her lower back She needs a geriatric massage

Promotes Relaxation

Promoting relaxation is one of the main benefits of geriatric massage. As people age, their bodies may become more prone to chronic pain, tension, and stiffness. Elderly massage helps to ease these physical symptoms and create a sense of calm and relaxation.

Massage also stimulates the release of feel-good hormones such as serotonin and oxytocin, which contribute to feelings of relaxation and happiness.

In addition to promoting relaxation, geriatric massage also improves mood. It reduces levels of stress and anxiety, as well as increased feelings of happiness and well-being. This is particularly important for seniors who may be facing significant life changes such as retirement, loss of loved ones, or health issues. Massage therapy provides a safe and supportive space for seniors to process their emotions and find relief from the stresses of daily life.

Depression and anxiety are common mental health concerns for older adults, particularly those who are experiencing social isolation, physical limitations, or cognitive decline. Geriatric massage therapy has also been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in older adults, promoting a sense of connection, relaxation, and overall well-being.

Improves Sleep

Elderly people commonly suffer from insomnia and poor sleep quality, which can hurt their overall quality of life. Insufficient sleep in older adults can lead to increased fatigue, irritability, and cognitive impairment, making it difficult for them to perform everyday tasks and enjoy life.

Geriatric massage can be an effective way to improve sleep in older adults. The gentle pressure and manipulation of soft tissue during massage therapy can help relax muscles and reduce tension, promoting relaxation and peaceful sleep.

Studies have found that geriatric massage significantly improves sleep quality and duration in elderly individuals. The elderly feel more relaxed and less anxious, and they are better able to fall asleep after receiving massage therapy.

Reduces Risks of Falls and Accidents

The elderly are more prone to falls due to age-related changes in the body, such as decreased muscle strength, balance, and coordination, and changes in vision and hearing.

Degenerative conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, and Parkinson’s disease further increase the risk of falls. These falls are common causes of serious injuries like fractures, head trauma, and even death in older people.

Geriatric massage focuses on improving balance and mobility. It also reduces muscle tension and increases range of motion, all of which can help reduce the risk of accidents.

Research shows that geriatric massage improves balance and gait in older adults, leading to a reduced risk of falls. Besides, massage therapy helps to increase proprioception, which is the body’s ability to sense its position in space, leading to better coordination and balance.

Geriatric massage therapy also reduces pain and stiffness in the muscles and joints, allowing older adults to move more freely and with greater confidence, reducing the risk of falls.

Elderly walking with a cane and is at risk of fall - massage for seniors

Improves Functional Mobility

Geriatric massage therapy improves functional mobility in the elderly by increasing joint movement and flexibility. As people age, their muscles, tendons, and ligaments become less elastic, which leads to decreased range of motion and stiffness in the joints.

Geriatric massage therapy uses gentle pressure techniques to loosen tight muscles, tendons, and ligaments, which can improve joint mobility and flexibility. This, in turn, results in improved functional mobility, allowing elderly people to move more easily and perform daily tasks with greater ease.

Older adults with arthritis complain of pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion, Elderly massage can reduce the stiffness, increase their range of motion, and improve mobility.

Similarly, older people with Parkinson’s disease can also benefit from massage to improve muscle rigidity and tremors and improve their functional mobility.

Geriatric massage therapy is also helpful in stroke rehabilitation in seniors. They usually have weakness, paralysis, or loss of function on one side of the body, which impairs their mobility. Massage therapy helps improve coordination, muscle tone, and range of motion, hence restoring functional mobility and physical independence.

Therapist's hands massaging the elderly man's shoulder

Enhance the Quality of Life

Geriatric massage enhances the overall quality of life for the elderly by providing a variety of physical and emotional benefits.

Geriatric massage also helps to promote a sense of social connectedness and engagement, which is vital for mental and emotional well-being in older adults. This is especially important as seniors often experience loneliness and isolation.

Massage therapy provides an opportunity for touch and human connection, which have a profound impact on an elderly’s sense of well-being.

Moreover, geriatric massage promotes better sleep, which is crucial for the overall health and well-being of older people. By reducing stress and promoting relaxation, massage therapy improves sleep quality and duration, leading to increased energy and elevated mood. All these factors contribute to making their lives happier and healthier.

Contraindications of Massage for the Elderly

While massage therapy can be an effective way to alleviate many age-related issues, it is not always suitable for everyone. There are specific contraindications of massage for the elderly that should be taken into consideration to ensure their safety and avoid any potential harm.

Some of the most common contraindications include:

  • Fever

  • Blood clots

  • Edema

  • Inflammation

  • Malignancy

  • Contagious disease

  • Fractures/severe osteoporosis

  • Severe cardiovascular conditions

  • Skin conditions

  • Open wounds/sores

  • Recent surgery or injury in the area to be massaged.

It’s important to consult with your physician and therapist before choosing geriatric massage therapy for your elderly loved ones, especially if they have any underlying health conditions or concerns.

Therapist's hands are on the elderly woman's face applying gentle elderly massage

What to expect when you schedule a message

Geriatric massage services can be performed on a table or on a bed, depending on the client’s mobility and comfort level. The length of each session can also vary depending on the client’s needs and preferences, ranging from a few minutes of focused work on a specific area to a long, relaxing full-body massage. Additionally, many senior clients may benefit from active stretching techniques and sports massage, which can help to promote flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Massage therapists who choose to work with older adults must also be mindful of safety considerations, such as proper positioning and contact with the client, and must stay up-to-date on the latest research and education in the field.


Geriatric massage is beneficial to elderly people and helps relieve pain, promote relaxation, improve sleep, and reduce the risk of falls and accidents. As it increases the functional mobility of individuals, it also enhances the overall quality of life in older people. However, there are a few contraindications to geriatric massage which you must take into consideration when choosing geriatric massage for your elderly loved ones. Consult your physician and therapists for professional and tailored advice.

With the aging of the population, the need for geriatric massage services is only expected to grow in the coming years, and massage therapists who specialize in this area can expect to be in high demand in 2023 and beyond. So if you’re looking for a gift for an older person in your life, consider giving them the gift of a specialized geriatric massage treatment that can help to promote comfort and relaxation in their daily life.

After gaining approval, call and schedule a geriatric massage for you or your loved one today. We, at Amy’s Eden, help ensure that all the specific needs of your elderly loved one are met. Please call or contact us today, if you have a loved one with any range of needs and we’d be happy to help you in any way we can.

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