Research suggests a variety of ways older adults may benefit from therapeutic massage to improve the quality of life and many conditions that older adults face including sleep disorder, chronic pain, depression, and arthritis.
The way in which therapist geriatric massage may improve overall quality of life and well-being is a promising research topic. Research on older adults has found that massage therapy helps to improve: emotional well-being; limitations due to physical issues; and limitations due to emotional issues (1).
Further, an improved relaxation response was measured by heart rate, blood pressure, and decreased reported anxiety (2, 3). Studies also suggested improved wellness for individuals suffering from dementia (4).
(1) Munk, N., and F. Zanjani. 2011. “Relationship between massage therapy usage and health outcomes in older adults.” J Bodyw Mov Ther 15(2)177-85.
(2) Nelson, R. and C. Coyle. 2010. “Effects of a Bedtime Massage on Relaxation in Nursing Home Residents with Sleep Disorders.” Activities, Adaptation & Aging 34(3): 216-231.
(3) Harris, M., and K. Richards. 2010. “The physiological and psychological effects of slow-stroke back massage and hand massage on relaxation in older people.” J Clin Nurs 19(7-8): 917-26.
(4) Moyle, W., Murfield, J., O’Dwyer, S., and S. Van Wyk. 2013. “The effect of massage on agitated behaviours in older people with dementia: a literature review.” J Clin Nurs 22 (5-6):601-10.
(5) Munk, N., Kruger, T., and F. Zanjani. 2011. “Massage Therapy Usage and Reported Health in Older Adults Experiencing Persistent Pain.” J Alt Comp Med 17(7): 609-16.
Sefton, J., Yarar, C., and J. Berry. 2012. “Six weeks of massage therapy produces changes in balance and cardiovascular measures in older persons.” Int J Ther Massage Bodywork 5(3): 28-40.
(6) Field, T., Diego, M., Delgado, J., Garia, D., and C.G. Funk. 2013. “Rheumatoid arthritis in upper limbs benefits from moderate pressure massage therapy.” Compl Ther Clin Pract.
(7) “Massage therapy for symptom control: Outcome study at a major cancer center.” J Pain Symptom Manage 28(3): 244-49; Diego, Manuel A., Field, Tiffany, Hernandez-Reif, Maria, Shaw, Kimberly, Friedman, Lawrence, and Gail Ironson. “HIV adolescents show improved immune function following massage therapy.” International Journal of Neuroscience 106(1-2): 35-45.Field, T., Ironson, G., Scafidi, F., and T. Nawrocki. 1996. “Massage therapy reduces anxiety and enhances EEG pattern of alertness and math computations.” Int J Neurosci 86(1-4): 205-17; Field, Tiffany, Peck, Michael, Krugman, Scott, Tuchel, Tammy, Schanberg, Saul, Kuhn, Cynthia, and Iris Burmin. 1998. Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation 19(3); Field, Tiffany M., Sunshine, William, Hernandez-Reif, Maria, Quintino, Olga, Schanberg, Saul, Kuhn, Cynthia, and Iris Burman. 1997. “Massage therapy effects on depression and somatic symptoms in chronic fatigue syndrome.”; Moraska, Albert, and Clint Chandler. 2009. “Changes in Psychological Parameters in Patients with Tension-type Headache Following Massage Therapy: A Pilot Study.” J Man Manip Ther 17(2): 86-94; Sunshine, William, Field, Tiffany M., Quintino, Olga, Fierro, Karen, Kuhn, Cynthia, Burman, Iris, and Saul Schanberg. 1996. “Fibromyalgia Benefits From Massage Therapy and Transcutaneous Electrical Stimulation.” Journal of Clinical Rheumatology 2(1): 18-22.