Massage therapy has many potential health benefits. It is used to relieve pain, release muscle tension and tightness, reduce stress, and enhance relaxation. But one surprising effect of massage therapy is that it can be used to improve balance. The reason behind the benefit lies in the fact that massage can boost blood circulation–improving blood flow in areas of our body which may not be getting enough of it. The benefits of massage therapy for balance are especially important for the elderly community, as falling is a common source of injury in seniors.
If you’re interested in a career as a massage therapist, read on to discover how massage therapy can positively affect our balance.
How Those with Massage Therapy Training Backgrounds Can Enhance Patients’ Balance
Due to its beneficial effects on blood circulation and blood pressure, massage therapy can be an effective way to improve the balance of patients. Massage therapy techniques stimulate circulation by applying pressure to certain parts of the body. This creates space in previously congested areas and promotes the blood flow into these areas. Enhanced circulation can also serve to regulate a patient’s blood pressure. When the body’s lymph fluid has more freedom to circulate, it can remove metabolic waste away from internal organs and muscles–regulating the body’s blood pressure.
For professionals with massage therapy training, it’s important to note that both blood pressure and blood circulation can be related to balance issues. Reduced or congested blood flow can cause inner ear dysfunction–an area containing the body’s capacity to balance. Additionally, unregulated blood pressure can negatively affect an individual’s balance when they change positions, as they may experience dizziness due to a lack of blood supply in the brain.
Why Elderly Patients May Be in Need of Massage for Balance
According to the Government of Canada, around 20-30% of Canadian seniors experience a fall each year, causing bone breakage or head injuries that can impede their quality of life. Helping seniors to improve their balance can have a positive effect in reducing their likelihood of falling. As we age, our bones become more fragile, and blood circulation to our limbs can be impeded. By improving blood circulation, those who’ve received specialized training through a massage therapy school can enhance balance in seniors and improve their range of motion.
In a study of healthy older participants, it was found that static balance improved after receiving a massage. Massage professionals can help seniors to restore their stability and sensory stimulation. This also helps to improve their quality of life by increasing their mobility and promoting independence.
Massage May Improve Posture, Which Can Affect Our Balance
Poor posture is often the result of a sedentary lifestyle. It affects patients with less freedom of movement, as is often the case for seniors. Bad posture leads to muscle tightness, joint pain, and restricted motion. Massage can counteract these effects by relieving muscle tightness and pain.
Through massage, a patient’s posture and mobility can improve, increasing their ability to control their movement and promoting an increased sense of balance. For patients suffering from chronic pain or restricted movement as a result of posture problems, massage therapy can be an important tool in restoring balance and range of motion.
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