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Massage Therapy for Soothing Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Massage therapy is considered an essential alternative in easing pain and relieving stress. It also has other uses, such as being an effective method for caring for the elderly.

As the population ages, the need to address the elderly’s health problems is becoming a priority. Currently, there are five million patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and it has been one of the leading causes of deaths among the elderly. A quarter of the hospitals around the world cater to older patients with dementia. As life expectancy increases, it is projected that more people will suffer from both Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Benefits of Massage Therapy

Changing the care for these patients is important. Using massage therapy for both dementia and Alzheimer’s is proven to be positive for the patients. The elderly can be especially receptive to touch. Since massage therapy is built upon human interaction, it is an effective element for this specified care.

Massage therapy for Alzheimer’s patients provides multiple benefits. This includes reducing anxiety and increasing the body’s alertness. Massage also eases the feeling of loneliness, boredom, and isolation felt by the patients. It encourages the patients to feel worthy of themselves.

For dementia, massage therapy can be an alternative in easing the behavioral symptoms. It increases the patient’s relaxation and calmness while decreasing stress and anxiety. Thus, massage therapy provides a holistic approach to dementia care.

The Studies

There is a lack of human touch in terms of caring for the elderly. This usually leads them to feel isolated. There have been studies conducted that prove how effective massage therapy in managing the patients’ challenging behaviors.

A 2002 study showed that hand massage coupled with calming music effectively reduced the verbal agitation of patients which sustained for an hour.

In 1995, a research was conducted on the effects of a five-minute hand massage on aggressive and non-aggressive agitation. The massage was done both in the morning and the afternoon. It showed a reduction and intensity of agitation during the morning care only.