One of the fastest growing demographics today is the baby boomer generation. They are aging, their muscle mass is on the decline and arthritis is setting in. It can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t need to be.

Why not tap into that clientele with some education?

By learning the benefits and techniques of geriatric massage in the privacy of your home or office through home study courses, massage therapists can easily implement these tools into practice. Some benefits of geriatric massage include encouraging the body’s circulation, which helps to prevent complications of diabetes, as well as helping with lymphatic flow and decreasing muscular stiffness.

Regular massage sessions can also improve the length and quality of their sleep; relieve stress, depression and loneliness; and improve the general quality of their life.

Massage sessions for geriatric clients typically last about 30 minutes. An Internet search resulted in numerous home study courses that any massage therapist can take to fulfill their continuing education requirements.

For geriatric massage, some of the courses offered cover such topics as physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of aging; client assessment; the modification of standard massage techniques; and the business models of geriatric massage.

Recent studies have shown geriatric massage significantly reduced anxiety, pain, blood pressure and the heart rates of elderly stroke patients.

The study, “The effects of slow-stroke back massage on anxiety and shoulder pain in elderly stroke patients,” monitored 102 elderly stroke patients with and average age of 73 years old. The patients in the study were divided into two groups, the massage group and the control group.

Those in the massage group received 10 minutes of slow-stroke back massage before going to bed, for seven consecutive nights. The patients in the control group received their standard care.

Researchers found that those in the massage group had significantly lower pain, anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate compared to the control group. Those improvements were also maintained three days after the massage sessions had ended, researchers reported.

Make sure you check with your national and state licensing bodies to make sure the courses you select are acceptable for continuing education credits.

–Jeremy Maready