As senior citizens contend with greater aches, pains and reduced mobility, massage therapy offers an appealing way to find relief. But is a massage chair good for the elderly?
In this comprehensive guide, we dive into Is Massage Chair Good for the Elderly Adults. You’ll learn how massage chairs can uniquely help senior health and happiness. Plus key precautions and best practices to maximize rewards and minimize risks.
Potential Benefits – Is Massage Chair Good for Elderly Adults?
Massage chairs offer many possible perks for seniors including:
Massage enhances blood flow which can counteract age-related circulation reduction for better healing.
Pain and Stiffness Relief
Soothing massage relaxes sore, stiff muscles and joints from conditions like arthritis.
Increased Flexibility and Mobility
Massage loosens connective tissue and joints to support senior mobility.
Massage promotes deeper, less interrupted sleep for elderly adults.
Stress and Anxiety Reduction
Massage elevates mood-boosting serotonin and reduces cortisol.
Shared chairs can encourage interaction between partners, family or friends.
Chairs allow convenient at-home massage without leaving the house.
These perks make massage chairs a potential wellness ally for the elderly.
Are Massage Chairs Safe for the Elderly?
When used properly, massage chairs are generally safe for seniors. But certain risks are elevated including:
- Aggravating conditions like osteoporosis
- Bruising from blood thinners
- Discomfort or soreness from intense massage
- Dizziness from improper positioning
Adjustable settings help minimize risks and improve the experience.
Ideal Massage Chair Features for the Elderly
Look for chairs offering:
- Adjustable massage speed, intensity and duration
- Lumbar heat to relax lower back
- Full body stretch functions to increase mobility
- Zero gravity recline to reduce joint compression
- Specific senior massage programs
What is the biggest safety issue for elderly clients receiving massage?
The biggest safety concern for elderly clients receiving massage therapy is the potential for bruising and injury due to thinner skin and frailty that comes with aging.
Factors that increase the risk of adverse effects from massage for elderly clients
Some key factors that increase the risk of adverse effects from massage for elderly clients include:
- Thinner skin that is more prone to bruising and irritation
- Loss of fatty tissue and muscle mass resulting in less padding over bony prominences
- Higher likelihood of osteoporosis, making bones more fragile
- Increased chance of being on blood thinners like coumadin or aspirin that impede clotting
- Circulation changes that can increase swelling and inflammation
- Possible presence of skin conditions like dermatitis that massage could aggravate
Extra precautions that therapists must take to provide massage safely for the elderly:
To provide massage safely for the elderly, therapists must take extra precautions such as:
- Using lighter pressure and slower strokes
- Avoiding areas of broken skin or unhealed wounds
- Ensuring proper draping over bony areas prone to bruising
- Checking for sensitivity or discomfort frequently during sessions
- Receiving medical clearance for clients with high-risk conditions
- Watching for early signs of bruises, abrasions or aggravated conditions
While massage offers many benefits for the elderly, their more delicate condition requires an extra cautious, gentle approach for safe application. Communication with the client and possible medical consultation ensures massage promotes health rather than causing harm.
Can a 90 year old get a massage?
Yes, a 90 year old can generally get a massage safely if some extra precautions are taken by the massage therapist. Here are some considerations for giving massage to a 90 year old client:
- The therapist should use lighter pressure and slower, gentle strokes to avoid irritating fragile skin and tissues. Deep or intense massage is not appropriate.
- Bony areas like the spine, ribs and hips are treated very gently or avoided completely due to less muscle and fat covering the bones.
- If the client is taking blood thinners, there is higher risk of bruising so compression and friction techniques may need to be minimized.
- Areas of thin or papery skin are handled delicately and worked around if any skin tears are present.
- The client should be asked frequently during the session if the pressure is comfortable. Adjustments are made at the first sign of discomfort.
- Proper draping techniques ensure the client feels warm and is not exposed.
- Hydration is encouraged before and after the massage to support circulation.
- Any recent injuries, surgeries or medical conditions should be cleared by their physician first.
While a 90 year old body may be more delicate, with care and client communication, professional massage can safely provide benefits like increased mobility, pain relief, and overall relaxation. Light, gentle techniques cater the massage to the individual needs of the elderly client.
6 Tips for Safe, Effective Use for Elderly Individuals
Follow these tips to maximize massage chair benefits and safety:
Get Medical Clearance First
Consult doctors about any conditions that require massage precautions.
Start Slowly with Low Intensity
Gradually increase massage speed and pressure strength over time.
Remain Properly Hydrated
Drink water before, during and after the massage session.
Add Moist Heat First
Warm up muscles safely before massage using wet heat packs.
Maintain Proper Positioning
Avoid slouching and support the head, back and hips.
Communicate with Technicians
Provide feedback so settings can be adjusted for comfort and safety.
Using Massage Chairs Safely After Injuries or Surgery
It’s typically best to avoid massage chairs after recent injuries or surgical procedures. Suggested timelines before restarting gentle massage chair use:
- At least 3 months after bone fractures
- 6 weeks after joint replacement surgery
- 8 weeks after soft tissue injuries like torn ligaments
FAQs – Are Massage Chairs Good for the Elderly?
At what age should you stop using massage chairs?
There is no set age. Assess your individual health conditions and adjust settings accordingly.
Can massage chairs help arthritis?
Yes, by boosting circulation, relaxing muscles, and releasing natural pain relievers.
Is daily massage chair use safe for the elderly?
For most, yes. But reduce frequency if bruising or soreness occurs. Take at least 1 day off per week.
How long should seniors use a massage chair?
Start with 10-15 minutes and gradually increase to 20-30 minutes as your body adapts.
The Bottom Line: Is Massage Chair Good for the Elderly?
Considering the many age-related physical and mental health issues massage can help, the answer is generally yes, massage chairs can be very beneficial for senior citizens.
The convenience, consistency and adjustability massage chairs offer makes routine massage an accessible self-care option for the elderly.
By taking some precautions, seniors can safely unlock massage benefits like improved circulation, pain relief, and reduced stress to enhance their quality of life.
While not a standalone treatment, consistent massage chair therapy can make a meaningful difference in maximizing comfort and wellbeing as we age.
Carol Hewitt is a massage therapist who has been practicing for over 20 years. She loves helping people feel better through massage, and she enjoys educating others about the benefits of massage. Carol is passionate about her work, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others.