Autumnaged Care

Healing Hands: How Massage is Soothing our Seniors.

Autumnaged Care

Healing Hands: How Massage is Soothing our Seniors.

Approaching pain relief and assistance for seniors struggling to manage their conditions can be a difficult and lengthy process. Medical professionals from around the world have been seeking to discover and pave the way for less intrusive and severe options to pain relief other than opioids and other such powerful drugs. The issue and concern of the over-prescribing of opioids across hospitals and residences across the globe has been in the hearts and on minds of many with loved ones in situations of high pain.

While as of yet there are no silver bullets to pain relief, some experts have been conducting studies on complementary and alternative therapies. One such approach has been to review whether massage has a place in pain treatment and to discern who would be best served in the inclusion of this in their treatment plan.

Yamini Kapoor and Robin Orr of Bond University and the Faculty of Health Science and Medicine conducted a study on the effects of therapeutic massage on pain in patients with dementia. In their study they highlighted that those suffering with dementia, while often excluded from pain studies, experienced frequent pain. A difficulty for those with dementia is to be able to articulate that they are in pain and to comprehensively describe.

Kapoor and Orr decided that they would focus their study on this group to discern if massage would assist. They found that there was a greater magnitude of change for those who underwent the effleurage, kneading and trigger point massage therapy than those who did not. Through their study they concluded that therapeutic massage may indeed provide a “useful adjunct to the current pain management plan of patient with dementia.”

The Pacific College of Oriental Medicine has focussed its studies on discovering the best techniques and approaches in senior massage care. They highlight that techniques for serving senior patients differ greatly than younger patients. Gentle stroking, kneading and light pressure on specific points is used to gently encourage blood flow to needed regions of the body. Using studies from the Touch Research Institute, Pacific College has found that massage is able to relax patients, encouraging gentle communication and is therefore a helpful way to safely allow senior patients and those with various forms of Alzheimer’s to safely open up and socialise. In conjunction massage has been found to encourage the natural lubrication of joints, gently assisting in pain management for patients challenged with the stiffness from arthritis.

While each patient will need to be personally assessed for pain management, massage may be a gentler way to manage pain in many.

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