As part of our continuing education for massage therapy courses we encourage therapists to expand their business and begin taking on new patients. One of the quickest growing demographics for massage patients is aging adults. These patients are seeking massage to relax, rejuvenate, and help treat common medical issues associated with aging.
Although every massage client is different we do suggest several general guidelines for working with elderly patients:
- Reduce session length Treatment sessions for elderly patients are typically shorter than standard massage sessions. Aim for about 30 minutes. If time allows and the patient wants to continue you can extend the session based on specific needs.
- Lighten up As people age their skin changes. This requires massage therapists to change their approach when treating elderly patients. Reduce the amount of downward pressure you exert and be careful not to apply too much sliding force.
- Be aware Pay close attention to the patient’s body during the treatment session. Be aware that many patients prefer sitting or the supine position instead of the prone position. Take care not to require too many position changes.
- Remain flexible Understanding the needs of an elderly patient is important. Take time to talk to the patient about specific requests such as only scheduling during daylight hours, traveling to their home for the appointment, and using a couch or favorite chair instead of a massage table.
The Institute of Somatic Therapy is ready to help you master new skills and knowledge to take your massage practice to the next level. Visit our website today to learn more about the courses we offer in continuing education for massage therapy.