You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
The woman — in her 80s — hadn’t spoken in months. The nursing home staff figured she had lost the ability. But after six silent months of regular massage sessions, massage therapist Dawn Nelson heard a soft voice utter: “That feels good.”
Nelson, author of “From the Heart Through the Hands” and creator of the program “Compassionate Touch For Those in Later Life Stages,” says massage has improved quality of life for many older, not-so-mobile clients.
In addition to boosting circulation, easing stress and relieving aches and pains, all important physiologically for people who don’t move around much, massage bestows a basic human need the elderly often go without: touch.
“Just like at the beginning of life, when you’re not touched, you don’t thrive,” said Nelson, who works with older people who are isolated in their homes or living in institutionalized care.
While extensive research has shown that massaging infants benefits their development, particularly in premature babies, few studies have explored the impact of massage on the elderly.
One study, published in 1998 in the Journal of Applied Gerontology, found that elderly people who massaged infants experienced less stress, improved mood and fewer trips to the doctor.