By incorporating massage into a regular healthcare regimen, many older adults find a better quality of life and additional relief from a multitude of health issues.
AMTA's 18th annual Consumer Survey found that approximately 9 million people over the age of 55 had a total of 39 million massages in the previous 12 months. The primary reason this population received massage was for medical purposes.
Massage therapy has been demonstrated to help treat chronic pain, particularly in joints, such as the shoulder or knee, while also improving stability and posture. “[This study] suggests that regular massage may produce physiological changes that contribute to improved balance and postural control,” says Jo Ellen Sefton, Director of the Neuromechanics Research Laboratory at Auburn University. “This may be a way to decrease falls in older adults.”
Studies have shown that even a brief massage can reduce agitation behavior in older adults living with dementia, such as physical expressions of pacing and wandering.
Research also shows that massage therapy provides clinical benefits to hospice patients, such as decreased pain and improved quality of life. A recent national cross-sectional survey of a random sample of hospices showed that 29 percent of facilities reported employing an art, massage or music therapist, with 74 percent of them employing massage therapists.
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