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How Massage Therapists Can Work Compassionately with Aging Clients: Part 1

17 Nov 2014

If you’re a massage or shiatsu therapist, this is something you should be aware of:  a large portion of the American public is what might be classified as geriatric, or getting close to it. 

11nov4d4a14The baby-boomer generation – one of the largest segments of the population – is somewhere between 55-75 years old, and many of their parents are still alive as well.  For a number of reasons, Americans are living longer, and as a bodywork professional you can be an important part of their health care routine. 

Natural Health Care and Wellness are Important to Older Americans

A healthy diet, staying active, and making wise lifestyle choices are important for maintaining wellness as one ages.  Even without conditions such as arthritis, the joints naturally get less flexible as the body gets older, and the wear and tear on the body from living life means there are often aches and pains.  But it’s clear that for many people approaching or in retirement that slowing down isn’t an option.  In fact, now that their working years are done they’d like to get out and enjoy the money they’ve earned, taking up new pursuits and going on adventures they’d only dreamed about in their youth.  But in order for a lifestyle like that to work, staying healthy is of prime importance.  And what’s even more applicable to bodywork professionals is that this group is very open to alternative health care that supports their goals of wellness, and that includes regular massage or shiatsu therapy. 

Aging Individuals Have Special Health Care Needs, Too

In addition to those seeking to maintain their health, there is another segment that’s turning to massage or shiatsu for different reasons – natural alternatives for managing pain and age-related degeneration and illness.  From the elderly woman who lives alone yet struggles to cope with day-to-day living because of arthritis, to the bedridden man in the nursing home, there are many older people for whom massage and shiatsu can offer relief and comfort.  But dealing with elderly clients requires some tweaking of your ‘normal’ routine and practices in order to deliver care that’s age appropriate. 

* * * * *

In Part 2 of this post we’ll discuss some specifics regarding interacting with and providing specially-tailored bodywork for older clients.  If you’re a massage or shiatsu therapist who would like to be more prepared to provide services for an aging population, our Minneapolis massage school has just the continuing education workshop for you – Special Populations: Geriatric Care.  This three-session class begins January 13th; registration is due by January 2, 2015.  For course details and registration information, click here

Call us today at 952-562-5200!