Aged Care Massage

Top Reasons A Nursing Home Massage

Helps The Elderly

Massage of an older persons hands by massage therapists

Getting older can bring its own health challenges. As massage therapists, we can see just how much aged care massage can help our elderly.

It can not only help them physically with any aches or pains, but it can also help psychologically to bring some happiness to their lives.

Here are some of the reasons why booking an aged care massage for friends or family, that maybe in a nursing home, can be a very positive experience.

1. It Can Reduce Arthritis Pain

Nursing Home Massage

Arthritis is commonly suffered from in older age, causes inflammation of the joints and leads to chronic pain and stiffness.

One of the benefits of massage for the elderly is that massage can assist in decreasing pain by helping with the flexibility and movement of muscles, joints, and tendons.

A 2018 study looking at the effects of massage on knee osteoarthritis suggested there is evidence for pain reduction and increased mobility post-massage.

The study looked at three groups with osteoarthritis and divided them up into a massage group, a ‘light touch’ treatment, and a control group.

After eight weeks of treatment, they asked the participants to rank their stiffness, pain, and mobility on The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) questionnaire, which is filled out by the patient, who ranks these categories on a scale of 0 – 4 (4 being extreme).

Out of the three groups, the massage group saw significantly lower WOMAC scores when compared to the other two groups.

The people in the study said they were more mobile, less stiff and had less pain.

Massage for the elderly can help reduce pain for several different arthritis types like rheumatoid arthritis, by reducing joint swelling through improving circulation, and manipulating and stretching soft tissue to reduce pain.

Helping those who are older become more mobile can also help with feelings of isolation and loneliness.  Those in nursing homes will will gain a greater sense of independence through movement.

2. Massage Can Help With Recovery After A Stroke

Strokes can have a significant impact on the affected individual and can severely damage their quality of life.

By massaging paralyzed or mobility-impaired areas of the body, affected areas may be stimulated.

The theory is that massage improve limb stiffness through repeated passive movements, increasing blood flow and then reducing pain and involuntary muscle spasms.

A study  published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal explored the potential benefits of Swedish Massage on physical rehabilitation and reported stress levels for those in stroke recovery.

In a review of existing literature, they suggested that massage increases motor function and neural activity to affected areas post-stroke. 

They also suggest that anxiety associated with post-stroke treatment can impair recovery, independence and lead to longer-term (therefore higher) healthcare costs.

Massage can reduce the stress associated with post-stroke recovery by decreasing the production of stress-related hormones, increasing well being, happiness levels and confidence.

Massage of elderly woman in nursing home

3. Massage Helps With Balance And Mobility

Problems with balance are a common factor in older age.

Risks of falls and injury during this time have the potential to cause more significant long-term health issues. 

Massage can help to avoid this by strengthening muscles and increasing posture, mobility, and balance.

A 2015 study explored the benefits of Thai massage on balance for sixty patients with type-2 diabetes, which were then randomly divided into the study and control group.

Patients treated with a thirty-minute Thai foot massage three days per week showed a significant improvement after only one week of treatment, and a greater improvement in foot and leg movement overall.

The researchers of this study believed that this was caused by improved blood circulation stimulating the somatosensory system, which is the part of the sensory system associated with touch, position, movement, and vibrations in the body.

Any negative impact on this system can lead to impaired balance and mobility.

It is vital that older individuals still have freedom of movement, and impaired balance can significantly jeopardize the person’s quality of life.

Massage of the elderly can help prolong the amount of time an older person is mobile, thereby increasing their independence and also their well being.

4. Massage Can Help Muscle Recovery

Massage can help soften muscles and tissue, and then increases the mobility of the elderly.

Reducing muscle tightness can decrease stiffness and increase movement in the joints.

Sometimes muscles cannot relax normally. Muscle spasms can tell your body to continually contract the muscle. This is a common side effect of strokes and some medications.

A study published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science discovered that a massage as short as ten minutes can activate biochemical sensors that send anti-inflammatory signals to your cells, reducing swelling in your muscles.

This then leads to reduced strain on the muscles and decreases muscle tension.

After seventy minutes of extreme exercise, a group of men were given a ten-minute massage to one leg, and muscle biopsies were taken from both legs to compare the difference.

The leg with the ten-minute massage showed decreased swelling in the muscle.

The results of this study showed how massage can promote short-term muscle recovery.

An aged care massage can also significantly increase an individual’s quality of life by reducing swelling in the muscles (also known as myositis).

Muscle swelling impacts people with rheumatoid arthritis and daily muscle aches and pains associated with some medication side-effects.

5. Massage Helps Increase Blood Circulation In The Elderly

Woman having an aged care massage in a nursing home

Poor circulation can be a big problem in older age.

It can lead to numbness, swelling or tingling in the hands and feet, fatigue, ulcers and even varicose veins.

It can also lead to disorientation, memory loss and even digestive problems.

A study looking at the link between massage and blood circulation showed how massage improves blood flow via its repeated movements on the body, and by increasing the temperature of the blood, aiding circulation.

Studying post-competition Ironman athletes, one group was given a quadricep massage after competing, while another group was not.

The study group reported significantly lower pain and fatigue when compared to the non-massaged group.

Fatigue is directly related to blood circulation, as improved circulation reduces fatigue.

6. Aged Care Massage Can Help With Muscle Pain

Musculoskeletal conditions refer to joints, bones, connective tissue and muscles.

This is a broad category that also encompasses some immune disorders and chronic back problems.

Musculoskeletal conditions may be caused by a primary disease, like arthritis, osteoporosis, or fibromyalgia, or be a secondary cause of another condition, such as a frozen shoulder associated with Parkinson’s disease.

It also includes pain caused by a fall or a resulting bone fracture.

Chronic back pain is one of the biggest causes of decreased mobility.

In a review of 26 pre-existing studies published in the Journal of Physiotherapy, it was shown that patients with osteoporosis of the knee, and those experiencing shoulder pain, displayed clinically relevant evidence for short-term pain reduction after the massage therapy.

The study finds that a more in-depth look at the effect of massage therapy on musculoskeletal disorders could open up a promising avenue for future treatments.

6. Massage Can Help Boost The Mental Health Of Alzheimers Patients

Depression, stress and agitation are exacerbated in conditions like Alzheimers or Dementia.

Older adults who have Alzheimer’s can experience confusion and disorientation that causes stress, depression, anxiety and agitation.

Agitation can display in a variety of different ways with Alzheimer’s, but is commonly shown by pacing, restlessness, and sudden physical or emotional outbursts.

In a recent 2018 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, a group of 40 agitated Alzheimer’s patients were given seven massages over three weeks by their nurse.

The study showed a reduction in stress indicators for Alzheimer’s patients, showing that the massages had caused an improvement in their overall mental health and well being.

Side effects caused by stress, such as lack of sleep, restlessness and memory fog, are only worsened with Alzheimer patients.

The relaxation response of a body to massage slows breathing rate, relaxes your muscles and decreases the activation of harmful stress hormones.

An aged care massage can assist in relaxation for the participant and therefore improve their mental health and reduce agitation symptoms.

So if you have family that are in an aged care facility or nursing home, adding in a massage to their weekly routine may be a good addition to their health care routine.

woman smiling on massage table

Ripple is a mobile massage and beauty business that brings the day spa to you to nursing homes and aged care facilities across Australia.

We not only massage the elderly, but also help with doing nails that they may need help with.

All of our therapists are hand picked and interviewed by us and hired for not only their massage skills, but also their people skills as well.

Click here for the full list of spa packages and beauty treatments and pricing

Call on 0438 567 906 or book online now

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Ripple Massage Day Spa And Beauty
National Telephone: 0438 567 906 – Email:
Head Office : 48 Justin Ave, Mt Tamborine Qld 4272
Australian Business Number 22061285274
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Author Biography – Ali Saoirse –  BEc University Sydney, GradDipPsych Bond University, Diploma Remedial Massage, Certificate IV Massage, Level 7 Kahuna Massage, Qualifications in Pregnancy Massage, Hot Stone Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology from Gold Coast TAFE.

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