Since baby boomers will be the largest population group seeking
health care over the next few decades, it's important for today's
massage therapist to understand how massage can help seniors, and
what special needs they may have. Unlike years past, today's
seniors may be more familiar with massage and more open to seeking
massage for pain and stress relief.
However, bringing the benefits of massage to seniors requires
special consideration: For example, certain stretching and joint
mobility exercises are not advised for older adults. An older
person might have difficulty with osteoarthritis as well as
decreased flexibility. Changes in older clients' skin will require
you to reduce your pressure during a massage.
In National University's massage therapy programs, you'll
explore how to address the needs of special populations like senior
citizens. That way you'll be ready to work with the largest group
of US health care consumers!
In the meantime, the American Massage Therapy Association has
two excellent articles about massage therapy that discuss the
special considerations of seniors:
Shawnee Isaac Smith had a very good friend and fellow body
worker who was dying of AIDS. As you may assume, many friends and
family members were uncomfortable visiting or touching him. Shawnee
decided to offer a weekly massage session to him, and just to be
touched, he told her, made him feel human again. Shawnee, through
massage, found a way to comfort her friend in the biggest struggle
of his life.
Spawned by that experience, the Heart Touch Project was
formulated. The Heart Touch Project is a nonprofit educational
organization dedicated to the training and delivery of
compassionate and healing touch to homebound or hospitalized men,
women and children. The organization uses professional volunteers
to bring comfort to seriously ill patients in California.
Heart Touch is also expanding its
outreach services across the United States through its Heart Touch
Training Program, a three-day course designed to teach bodywork
practitioners how to work with clients with difficult medical
For more information, visit http://www.hearttouch.org.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
plagues no group more than soldiers who have served in combat. As a
massage therapist, you can step forward to help ease the soldiers'
suffering by using the power of touch.
One professional organization providing massage to overstressed
and traumatized client populations is the American Massage Therapy
Association. They serve disaster-relief workers, victims of
domestic violence and returning U.S. military vets.
Massage Emergency Response Teams are administered by state and
local chapters. To locate a chapter contact the national office at
847-864-0123 or www.amtamassage.org.
(Deb adds "Be sure to read about NUHS' free
acupuncture clinic for combat veterans with PTSD!)
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