What Is A Geriatric Massage? Discover The Benefits Now!

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As we age, our bodies undergo many changes. We may experience achy joints, lowered immunity, and even cognitive decline. Fortunately, there are various forms of therapy that can help us feel better as we get older, one of which is geriatric massage.

Geriatric massage refers to massage therapy designed for elderly individuals. Its aim is to alleviate some of the physical and emotional challenges associated with aging. This type of massage involves techniques that are gentle, soothing, and customized to each person’s unique needs and conditions.

“Massage therapy has been shown to reduce pain and improve mobility in seniors.”

Alongside these general benefits of massage, geriatric massage aims to provide additional advantages such as improved circulation, increased flexibility, reduced muscle tension, and enhanced mental clarity. It can also ease symptoms related to specific conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and dementia. Overall, this form of therapy helps seniors maintain their overall well-being and enjoy a better quality of life.

If you’re an elderly individual or caretaker looking for ways to enhance your health and wellness, geriatric massage may be just what you need. In this article, we explore the ins and outs of geriatric massage, including its benefits, what to expect during a session, and how to find a qualified practitioner.

The Definition of Geriatric Massage

As the name suggests, geriatric massage is a specialized type of massage therapy that has been designed to cater to the needs and requirements of senior citizens. This type of massage techniques involves gentle pressure and soft movements which are customized according to elderly clients’ preferences and constraints.

Geriatric massage therapists aim to provide relief to seniors suffering from various physical, emotional, or behavioral difficulties, such as dementia, anxiety, depression or Parkinson’s disease, among others.

Understanding Geriatric Massage

Older adults have unique needs when it comes to therapeutic massages due to their fragile health conditions. Geriatric massages require attention to different aspects than typical massages offered for young or middle-aged people.

Having a comprehensive understanding of older persons’ physiology and body changes over the years helps in developing an individualized plan specific to each person’s ailments. Geriatric massage entails meeting them at their level by personalizing seating arrangements to comfort seniors and setting optimal room temperature to lessen cold sensations commonly felt by elders. Overall, these adjustments make them more relaxed, receptive and comfortable during the therapy session.

The Benefits of Geriatric Massage for Seniors

“Massage can be a great gift for growing older with grace.” -Doneel Mayer

Seniors struggle with numerous physical problems as they age – this ranges from achy muscles and overall decreased mobility to arthritis, respiratory diseases, and other chronic illnesses. Fortunately, geriatric massage offers countless benefits tailored specifically for addressing aging-related issues.

  • Reduces pain
  • Enhances flexibility and range of motion
  • Improves digestion and circulation
  • Stimulates the lymphatic system
  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Enhances the quality of sleep
  • Can help manage Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease symptoms – when combined with other medical treatments.

The Techniques Used in Geriatric Massage

A geriatric massage is unlike any other form of therapeutic massage. Traditional massages utilize a more vigorous approach that may not be suitable for elderly or frail individuals due to their physical limitations and health concerns.

Geriatric massage typically involves gentle pressure, kneading, circular motions, vibration, and light rhythmic taps on various points throughout the body. With each stroke, it goes deeper into muscles, tendons and ligaments which slowly work out stiffness, strengthen muscle tissue and restores mobility to joints. This method also eliminates unnecessary strain and pain during the session. Furthermore, therapists target specific areas prone to soreness and tension such as neck, shoulders, lower back, hips and feet where seniors mostly feel discomfort.

The Importance of Choosing a Qualified Geriatric Massage Therapist

“The worst thing you can do when selecting a therapist is assuming they all know how to provide geriatric therapies.” – Luz Ivonne Ream

Geriatric massage therapy is considered specialized skill because it demands extensive knowledge and training needed beyond the typical massaging techniques. Seniors require careful handling involving patience, empathy, and communication skills while ensuring overall safety in the session.

Choosing certified geriatric therapists with several yearsof practical experience under their belt ensures your loved one receives hands-on skilled care rarely given by average conventional means. Ample experience shows they have managed diverse cases helping them familiarize themselves better with issues faced by older adults often resulting in positive outcomes after each session.

I hope that this blog post has helped you learn more about what geriatric massage is and how it can benefit seniors. If you have a loved one who could benefit from this type of specialized therapy, consider making an appointment with a qualified and experienced therapist soon.

The Benefits of Geriatric Massage for Seniors

Geriatric massage is a specialized type of massage therapy designed specifically for seniors. The main goal of this therapy is to help improve the overall health and well-being of elderly individuals by addressing physical and psychological issues commonly associated with aging.

Physical Benefits of Geriatric Massage

Geriatric massage can offer numerous physical benefits, including:

  • Pain Relief: As we age, our bodies are more prone to pain, stiffness, and inflammation due to conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and other degenerative disorders. Geriatric massage can help ease these symptoms by increasing blood flow, reducing swelling, and relaxing muscles and joints.
  • Increase Range of Motion: Restrictions in mobility and joint function can also decrease over time as we grow older. Geriatric massage techniques can aid in improving range of motion through stretches and gentle pressure applied to key areas of the body.
  • Better Sleep: Insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns are common among seniors. However, regular massage therapy sessions can promote relaxation and reduce stress, leading to better-quality sleep and increased energy levels during waking hours.
  • Improved Circulation: Poor circulation can be another problem that seniors face; however, geriatric massage techniques like compression and passive stretching can help increase blood and lymphatic fluid circulation throughout the body.

Psychological Benefits of Geriatric Massage

Aside from physical advantages, geriatric massage can also provide numerous psychological benefits, including:

  • Reduced Anxiety and Depression: Depression and anxiety are prevalent problems among older adults. Studies have shown that massage therapy can lower levels of cortisol (the hormone associated with stress), thereby decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety.
  • Enhanced Mood: Massage therapy can also release endorphins, which are the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals that promote feelings of happiness and positivity.
  • Sense of Connection and Relationship Building: Touch is one way to communicate care and compassion. Geriatric massage sessions may provide an opportunity for seniors to receive human touch and deepen relationships with caregivers or loved ones.
  • Improved Cognitive Function: Recent studies have found that regular massages can help improve cognitive function in seniors by stimulating blood flow and reducing inflammation in areas of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
“Soft tissue therapies like geriatric massage can be a great option for managing pain and improving overall well-being among older adults.” -Dr. Brent Bode

Geriatric massage is an effective form of complementary medicine for seniors who experience physical and psychological issues associated with aging. Along with standard medical treatments and prescribed exercises, experts recommend that elderly individuals try incorporating massage therapy as part of their health routine to enhance their quality of life. Speak to your healthcare provider to see if geriatric massage is right for you.

The Techniques Used in Geriatric Massage

Geriatric massage is a specialized type of massage that is designed to address the unique needs and challenges of older adults. It can help alleviate pain, promote relaxation, and improve quality of life. However, because of their age and health conditions, geriatric clients may require different techniques than those used in traditional massage therapy. Here are some common techniques used in geriatric massage:


Effleurage is a rhythmic stroking technique that involves using long, flowing strokes with varying pressure. This technique is often used at the beginning of a massage session to warm up the muscles and relax the client. For older adults, it can be especially effective in reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.

“Effleurage is an important aspect of geriatric massage because it provides a gentle way to introduce touch and establish trust between the client and therapist.” -MedlinePlus


Petrissage is a kneading technique that involves applying deeper, more targeted pressure to specific areas of the body. This technique can help relieve muscle tension, increase circulation, and improve range of motion. When performing petrissage on older adults, it is important to adjust the pressure based on their individual needs and comfort level.

“Petrissage can be especially beneficial for older adults who may experience stiffness or limited mobility due to arthritis or other chronic conditions.” -National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork


Tapotement is a percussion technique that involves tapping, slapping, or cupping various parts of the body. This technique can help stimulate blood flow, loosen up tight muscles, and boost energy levels. For older adults, tapotement should be applied with caution and adjusted based on their physical limitations.

“Tapotement can help improve circulation in older clients who may have reduced mobility or poor blood flow due to conditions like diabetes or heart disease.” -Massage Magazine


Friction is a technique that involves using circular or back-and-forth movements with the fingertips or palms to target specific muscle knots or adhesions. This technique can help break up scar tissue, promote healing, and alleviate pain. When performing friction on older adults, it is important to communicate about any discomfort and adjust the pressure as needed.

“Friction can be an effective way to relieve chronic pain in older adults who may not be able to tolerate more vigorous massage techniques.” -American Massage Therapy Association

Gentle, nurturing touch can have powerful therapeutic benefits for older adults. By adjusting their massage techniques to meet the unique needs of geriatric clients, massage therapists can help improve overall health and wellbeing, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance quality of life.

The Importance of Choosing a Qualified Geriatric Massage Therapist

Geriatric massage is a form of massage therapy that focuses on the specific needs and challenges faced by older adults. This type of therapy can offer many benefits, including pain relief, improved circulation, increased mobility, and reduced stress levels. However, it’s crucial to choose the right therapist for your needs. Here are some important factors to consider:

Experience and Training

A qualified geriatric massage therapist will have extensive training in both general massage therapy techniques as well as specialized training in working with elderly clients. Such therapists may specialize in areas like senior wellness, hospice care or even sports injury prevention. It’s important to look at their experience level when choosing a specialist. The more experienced a therapist is in working with seniors, the better they will be able to craft a session which caters to you.

You should also inquire if the therapist has any references or worked with senior citizens having similar health issues as yourself. If yes, then he/she might be perfect to entrust them with your body’s ache removal.

It’s also essential to consider whether the therapist is trained in safe and effective practices relevant to senior citizen massages, such as reducing pressure based on blood thinners usage, moving less mobile limbs/fingers around muscles, watching out for signs of pain or discomfort, all this while being supportive and compassionate towards the client.

Licensing and Certification

Most states require professional licensure and certification from certified schools before practicing geriatric massage. You must ensure your potential massage therapist possesses the necessary credentials/certificates. A registered practitioner with a reputed agency is also recommended since it indicates significant commitment, understanding related to the profession.

You can also find feedback or testimonials about the therapist online or from friends and family who might have received massage treatment from them before. Feedback about their general approach, responsiveness to needs while at work, attention span are crucial factors for choosing a reliable masseuse/masseur.

“Regular Massage can help you manage health conditions such as high blood pressure and anxiety.”

Massage therapy has been examined extensively by medical experts around the world for its astounding efficacy in treating conditions like depression, osteoporosis, arthritis, neuropathy, headaches, heart disease, chronic pain and sleep disorders experienced by senior citizens.All these involve specific tactics that an unqualified therapist could easily overlook but will be on top of if certified.

The National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork advises people seeking services of professional therapists always make sure they check credentials/certificates before scheduling any sessions with a new provider.

Bonus tip:

  • The preferred location should not be difficult for seniors to transport themselves to-and-from.
  • The therapist’s availability when one may require treatment must also be considered.

What to Expect During a Geriatric Massage Session

A geriatric massage is a non-invasive and gentle form of massage therapy that aims to help the aging population maintain their well-being, improve joint mobility, alleviate pain and discomfort caused by chronic health conditions. Whether you are an elderly person who experiences age-related complications or want to assist an aging loved one in improving quality of life, it’s essential to know what to expect during a geriatric massage session.

Assessment and Consultation

The first step when booking a geriatric massage appointment is assessment and consultation with the massage therapist. The therapist will enquire about your medical history, including current medications, any underlying issues, surgeries, injuries, allergies, or recent illnesses. They may also inquire about any specific concerns like limited range of motion, joint stiffness, arthritis, neuropathy, high blood pressure, or other relevant symptoms associated with the natural process of aging.

During this phase, the therapist may conduct some physical tests such as checking your reflexes, muscle tone, skin condition, balance, and gait pattern. These evaluations help the therapist create a personalized care plan that suits your needs, expectations, comfort level, and overall health status.

The Massage Session

After reviewing your medical records and performing necessary assessments, the therapist will lead you into a serene room where you’ll experience the geriatric massage fully. You will lie on a comfortable padded table while they apply gentle techniques that stimulate various muscles and soft tissues to promote relaxation, ease tension and improve circulation.

Geriatric massages are often slower-paced, gentler, and less intense than traditional massages since most elderly people have delicate skin with fragile bones and muscle tissues. A good therapist uses light strokes combined with rhythmic compression, tapping, squeezing, kneading, and rolling to facilitate smooth movements in joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other tissues. They may also use aromatherapy oils or lotions that help improve skin texture, reduce inflammation, hydrate dry skin, and calm the mind.

The therapy session’s duration varies based on different care plans, with some sessions lasting 30 minutes while others could last up to 90 minutes. Throughout the treatment, your therapist will maintain open communication and check how you feel if the pressure is comfortable, and if there are areas where they should focus more attention.

Post-Massage Care

After the massage is over, the therapist may suggest a few post-massage care activities. These involve simple home-based exercises intended to promote relaxation, mobility, flexibility, and enhance the effects of the treatment sessions. Some common post-geriatric massage care tips include:

  • Hydrating: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated throughout your recovery period and flush out toxins from the body

  • Moving around: Stretch gently, get up slowly, walk around for a few minutes after the massage session to prevent dizziness, fatigue, or sudden migraines.

  • Avoiding caffeine: Caffeine can easily trigger anxiety, irritability, heart palpitations, insomnia, nausea, hypertension, all of which can interfere with proper healing.

  • Eating healthily: Make healthy meals loaded with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, vitamins, and minerals to accelerate tissue repair processes in the body.

It’s essential to monitor how you feel after the massage. Some people may experience mild side effects, including muscle soreness, tenderness, or swelling in different parts of the body. Any adverse reactions that cause severe pain, nausea, skin rash, disorientation, or difficulty breathing require immediate medical attention.

“Massage therapy has been shown to reduce stress and depression and enhance feelings of well-being. Receiving therapeutic touch could help elderly individuals maintain a sense of connectedness and relaxation.” -Mary Ann Liebert, Inc publishers

Geriatric massages can significantly improve overall wellness by reducing anxiety, stress, insomnia and improving balance, immunity, alertness, focus, and emotional health. These treatments work correctly when done consistently and with proper after-care support. By following this guide on what to expect during geriatric massage sessions, you are taking significant strides towards bettering your life as an aging individual or helping your seniors to age gracefully.

Is Geriatric Massage Right for You or Your Loved One?

Geriatric massage, also known as elderly massage, is a type of massage therapy designed to specifically address the needs and conditions of older adults. Unlike traditional massages that focus mainly on relaxation, geriatric massage targets physical limitations, pain relief, and overall wellbeing.

If you or your loved one is experiencing age-related issues such as arthritis, muscle stiffness, or mobility challenges, geriatric massage might be beneficial. However, it’s essential to understand what this kind of therapy entails and its potential benefits and risks.

Conditions that Benefit from Geriatric Massage

Geriatric massage can help alleviate symptoms associated with many chronic health conditions in seniors. Here are some of the ailments that might benefit from this type of therapy:

  • Arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Depression and anxiety disorders

In addition to physical conditions, geriatric massage can also aid dementia patients by stimulating sensory receptors and promoting well-being through human touch.

Precautions and Contraindications

Geriatric massage uses gentle pressure and slow strokes to avoid causing unnecessary pain or discomfort. However, some precautions should be taken when dealing with certain situations. For instance, if older adults have fragile bones or other medical concerns, a doctor should assess them before getting any massage treatment. Moreover, they may also need additional support or accommodation during the session, like being seated or having pillows placed under their joints.

If any of the following conditions are present, seniors may have to avoid receiving geriatric massage therapy:

  • Open wounds or inflamed skin areas
  • Fever or infectious diseases
  • Blood clots or bleeding disorders
  • Recent surgery
  • Cancer undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment

Consultation with a Healthcare Professional

Before deciding whether geriatric massage is safe and beneficial for you or your loved one, it’s essential to talk to a healthcare professional. A doctor can determine if the person has any underlying medical conditions that could affect their ability to receive this type of therapy as well as guide them on the best course of action. Furthermore, always consider getting a licensed and qualified therapist and verifying their qualifications before scheduling an appointment.

“Great stretches that involve both slow movement and deep breathing lead to relaxation, which helps improve sleep,” says Heather Wibbels, author of Massage Techniques for Aging Adults and Geriatric Populations.

Geriatric massage offers older adults relief from pain, stress reduction, increased physical function, and overall quality of life. However, it must be done carefully by trained therapists that specialize in working with aging populations. Always seek advice from a health professional who can assess your conditions, preferences and give recommendations if geriatric massage is right for you or your elderly loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

What age group is considered geriatric in geriatric massage?

Geriatric massage is typically focused on individuals who are 65 years of age or older. However, this age range can vary depending on the individual’s health status and physical needs.

What are the benefits of geriatric massage for seniors?

Geriatric massage can improve circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, relieve pain and stiffness, improve flexibility and range of motion, and promote relaxation. It can also enhance overall well-being and quality of life for seniors.

What techniques are used in geriatric massage?

Geriatric massage often includes gentle techniques such as effleurage, petrissage, and passive stretching. Other techniques may be used depending on the individual’s needs, including myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and joint mobilization.

What are some common conditions that geriatric massage can help with?

Geriatric massage can help with a variety of conditions common among seniors, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and chronic pain. It can also help with overall relaxation and stress relief.

Is geriatric massage safe for all seniors, including those with medical conditions?

Geriatric massage can be safe and beneficial for most seniors, including those with medical conditions. However, it is important to consult with a doctor or healthcare provider before beginning any new form of massage therapy, especially if you have any medical concerns or conditions.

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